The Bay Area is an ever growing hub of opportunities for art professionals, educators, and enthusiasts alike. However, despite the notion that art is some what omnipresent, people often ignore the privilege of public art, particularly in Oakland. I too am guilty of burying myself into my own thoughts relying solely on tunnel vision to guide my path . So much so that I sometimes forget what it means to be an observer in my own hood. We often fooled into believing that progress can only be found straight ahead when indeed creativity and innovation exist all around.
Meet artist extraordinaire and all around dope dude, Jet Martinez. When I first met Jet, I was awe struck by his amazing perfectly, paint-splattered jeans. Folks, I’m not talking about a pair of pants that can be manufactured by any ole’ high-end denim designer. I’m talking about a walking indigo canvas with a perfectly orchestrated palette of hues that only a masterful artist could create. That was my introduction to Jet’s brilliance.
A year later, I had the opportunity to capture a glimpse of Jet at work though a project coordinated by one of Oakland's leading public art collectives Athen B. Gallery and the thoughtful lens of local photographer, Hasain Rasheed of Hasain Rasheed Photography. The floral green motif prominently displayed on the west side of Downtown Oakland’s historic I. Magnin building is striking and is characteristic of Jet’s signature style of painting living and breathing murals. The I. Magnin projects speaks of the bounty of Oakland, here today and here tomorrow.
When I asked Jet about his process and whether he used one of my favorite math concepts of scale to paint murals, his response was, “I used a grid for this project because of the the large scale but I don’t have a usual method. It kinda depends on the project. On some, I just free draw.”
Here’s a thought…let’s all join the movement. Live, think, create, and draw…free.