THE ART ENGINEER
I created the title “Art Engineer” to expand my reach as an artist. As the Art Engineer I use art as a way to investigate and reflect ideas through the images that surround us in printed media. The results are lush collages of shared experiences, narratives and a multi-faceted identity
Collaging, to me, is the ultimate democratic and political art practice. Unlike other mediums, the source material can be anything and everything available to the artist. Every choice the artist makes gives new meaning and context to the material and images being collaged.
“I want to create harmony by juxtaposing divergent elements, to create a new narrative, and voice to our collective conscience.”
By exercising appropriation, an act usually limited to those with absolute power, I give meaning to the images around me instead of meaning being imposed or sold on me, through media and advertisement.
Through my work, I create a space where the viewer and I can playfully make sense of stories with out words or voice. My work on paper is a plead for the viewer to find their own story in the familiar. Each collage is an invitation for the viewer to reclaim what I have appropriated, and for them to make there own.
The imagery I use in my collage are the backgrounds and bodies of people often used as props. I make use of the elements in advertising that cannot be sold or bought. I use blue skies, free roaming animals and untamed landscapes. Mythologies often emerge from the narratives that form from the images. I often give agency to bodies of color, mostly that of black skin. As a native to the Americans it is hard to come by images that reflect my own identity. I find my collage practice as a whole is driven by a need to create my identity by finding harmony in juxtaposing elements that have been taken out of context.
I created the term “The Art Engineer” to remind myself of the power artists have to “engineer” and show the possibilities of a self defined discipline, practice and narrative. By creating conversation about identity using culture's left over imagery from magazines and discarded books, my work becomes a mirror that reflects the altered perspectives of a collective but incohesive identity.
I collect images from my travels, books, magazines and pictures I take. Each collage is like an exercise in visual Feng Shui with elements of the figure, color and pattern.
Each collage is a small expression of art made of paper and glue, yet each image has the gravitas to be monumental through prints, multiples and installations. The work is an invitation to collaborate with the viewer to tell stories.
Email Luis Martin directly at