Danny Martin Sticks Around

April 10, 2013 |

photo by Andrew Brown

This issue’s cover comes to us from an artist whose projects have appeared ubiquitous around the Old Pueblo as of late. One could even say 33-year-old Alabama native Danny Martin is taking the Tucson art scene by storm, seeing as his whimsical work is about to surface at unpredictable venues totaling no less than three exhibits in only sixty days.

Immediately following his mixed media Western art show having just spent the month of March lining the walls of the Hotel Congress lobby, Martin is already preparing for an April 13 opening at downtown’s BLX Skate Shop. The collection to run at BLX until mid-May, a sticker portrait show exclusively featuring pop culture 1980s film icons, betrays Martin’s early childhood obsessions with the artists Raymond Pettibon and Pushead. And later this month during the weekend of April 27-28, more of Martin’s neo-High Noon imagery will be included in the Cowboy Music Festival & Western Art Show at Old Tucson Studios out past Gates Pass.

On top of all of this, Martin was recently set up at the Fourth Avenue Spring Street Fair selling shirts, prints and buttons and pressing the flesh alongside established local artist Donovan White and others. Questioned about his busy schedule, he shrugged it off good-naturedly. “I am out doing stuff in Tucson,” Martin admits. “Everybody draws as a kid. But a lot of people never really make the shift from child art to adult art.”

A statement on his DannyMartinArt.com website speaks to memories of doodles past. “All my stuff I would draw in notebooks was from skateboard decks and flyers or film,” Martin explains, combined with “a little bit of self-awareness.” Does he still have his five hundred practice drawings of Jim Phillips’ screaming hand logo? “I’m a real pack rat,” Martin confesses when asked whether he’s managed to hang onto the sketches he remembers so fondly from his youth. “But I unfortunately don’t have any of that stuff. The house I grew up in burned down.”

Martin’s artistic sensibility extends beyond any aspirations he may have for commercial success, with his Southern background jibing nicely with the Sonoran Desert surroundings he chose when he relocated here eight years ago for grad school. The result is a prolific outpouring of art with a sense of place and community, in Martin’s own words, “even outside of selling stuff.” By honoring his muse before money, Martin joins the ranks of the many local creatives producing art for reasons other than narrow financial considerations. He, and they, add to the tapestry of Tucson through their efforts which make this town a colorful slice of paradise we all love.

Danny Martin’s 1980s movie portrait stickers go on view at BLX Skate Shop, 35 E. Toole Ave., beginning the evening of Saturday, April 13 in conjunction with 2nd Saturdays Downtown. Find details at BLXSk8.com and 2ndSaturdaysDowntown.com. Old Tucson Studios and the Arizona chapter of the Western Music Association present the third annual Cowboy Music Festival & Western Art Show from 10 am-6 pm on Saturday-Sunday, April 27-28, at 201 S. Kinney Rd. Visit TucsonCowboyFestival.org and OldTucson.com for more information.