Sensitive Painting

about Mauro C. Martinez

He was a heroin addict for 6 years, and lost a brother to an overdose — he got the news when he was taking his first and only painting class at Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California. With no money and no way to get home, Mauro C. Martinez did the only thing he could think of: he walked back into class and finished his painting. He choked his tears back and waited until he got home.

Because of his financial situation at the time, he was unable to make it to his funeral. That evening, he painted the best version of his brother’s portrait, and held his own ceremony with a bonfire. He established a very raw and visceral relationship with painting because of this experience, and this relationship has become an integral part of the story he tells.

“Your best stories will come from your experiences. But it is important to remember that this is not a contest to see who has undergone the most suffering. A good story doesn’t have to be tragic, it only has to be yours. What trials or triumphs have shaped who you are? How have these experiences found their way into your work?

Mauro lives in a small city that most people have never heard of, and if they have, it’s because of drug trafficking and cartel violence. In fact, the last thing synonymous with Laredo, Texas, is “booming art scene”, although the city is rich with cultural heritage — and its art scene ain’t too shabby, either. But from this fairly remote place, and despite almost insurmountable odds, Mauro managed to extend the reach of his artwork far beyond.


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