Featured Artist: Naomi Martinez
Naomi Martinez is an artist from the Logan Square neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She was first exposed to the art of painting and hand-craft as a teenager through Chicago ’s Marwen Foundation and the Gallery 37 Apprentice Artist program. She then attended Columbia College where she studied Advertising, Art & Design. Her work has exhibited locally throughout Chicago’s many alternative art spaces and nationally thanks to Intermedia Arts’ B-Girl Be Summit in Minneapolis and Younity Arts Collective in New York City.
She has been a Teaching Artist with various arts organizations to bring murals and other public art projects to her local community. Naomi is co-founder of the all woman artist collective Mujeres Mutantes and she curates their annual art zine MUTANTES!
Her work is inspired by Japanese animation and the Superflat art movement, independent comics, nature, and growing up in the Windy City. Mediums include traditional illustration, painting, D.I.Y. comics and zines, doll-making and spray-painted mural work.
I love how Naomi has created an entire world and mythology around her work. She says about her Monstrochika:
Monstrochika sprouted from my imagination sometime in the year 2000. She came to life inside a swirl of vibrant colors surrounded by magical creatures. I had been drawing cartoonish girls since my high school days but this one stood out instantly. She had a unique expression and stance that I loved. I kept working on her and all the sidekicks that started accompanying her. Pretty soon a whole monstroworld came spilling out complete with hungry flytraps and strange shaped flora.
Monster in Spanish is “monstruo” and “chica” means girl. I came up with my own fun spelling of monster girl. Monstrochika!
My girls do not have names. They are all Monstrochika. I set my mind and pencil free to create all my characters. No two chikas or sidekicks are ever alike but they all carry my signature style.
Monstrochika enjoys roaming the city streets, weaving between concrete and the patches of nature that remain. Alley cats follow her because they sense her loneliness while magical monster friends can sense her kind heart and remain visible only to her.