Pete Martin started his professional life locking up criminals – now he spends his days unlocking his own creativity.
The Brisbane-based artist is known for his aerial-perspective landscape paintings, and said that, despite having had many other careers, he had always been a painter.
“If I paint a landscape, I don’t use google earth, it’s from the dust of my boots – I’ve been there, I’ve walked it,”
“I was an artist first,” he said. “But Dad pulled me out of art school, he wanted me to have a proper career.
“So I was a police officer in Victoria for some years, then I’ve been a house painter, then I taught at the Brisbane Institute of Art and I have run galleries and now I am a professional, full time artist.”
Pete’s works feature many layers of colour and light and he said it was important to him to see the places that he paints.
“If I paint a landscape, I don’t use google earth, it’s from the dust of my boots – I’ve been there, I’ve walked it,” he said.
“For me, art is about telling stories and wanting people to feel. People bring their own experiences to art. You can walk into any exhibition and there’s always at least one piece that has you crossing the room, and who can say why that is?"
“I really love putting colours together that people don’t think are going to go together. It’s just so much fun and I love everything about what I do.”
In 2008, when setting up the Martin Galleries in Nundah, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, Pete came across Picture Hanging Systems.
“It was recommended to me,” he said.
“We had six shops side by side, with about 170 artists on the books. We were running four exhibitions a month. So that’s a lot of hanging and rehanging.
“I’ve had other systems before, but they were too fiddly. This one – you can hang a show in one evening with just two people. It’s so easy.
“I have the system here in my home studio and at mums’s house for all the family photos.”
Pete added Picture Hanging Systems had made a huge difference to his home studio in Sandgate.
“It means that people can see the art up on the walls,” he said
“It’s not leaning up against the wall on the floor, it’s at eye level, which is where art is supposed to be – you’re supposed to see it.”
Pete said he planned to keep creating art until he can “no longer paint”.
“Being an artist has always been in there, for me,” he said.
“It opens you up – artists are one of the few groups of people in society who do some serious navel gazing; we really think through everything and go ‘ah, so that’s what that means’ or ‘that’s what that person is about’."
Pete uses the Locator extra which although is designed for use in a square-set ceiling has found it to be suitable for use on exhibition panels as well as under cornices in his studio. This is because the rail is strong yet discreet. Hiding fixings means Pete can install in most situations.
Where can I see Pete's work?
Pete Martin is currently exhibiting in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast at De Rucci Gallery:
De Rucci, 977a Ann St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, 4006
How do I contact Pete Martin?
You can find Pete online at: www.martingalleries.com.au or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/martingalleries/
Changing the landscape for Brisbane artists
By Brooke Jacobson
Karen Collins loves a good landscape and the talented Brisbane artist is changing the view in more ways than one.
Karen runs Art St, which supports and promotes emerging artists through an online space and social media. The former web designer said her vision came from speaking with students at the Brisbane Institute of Art.
"The students there were complaining that they had nowhere to show and sell their work"
"There are so many good artists out there and there was no outlet for them. It’s very hard to get representation at the the commercial galleries and it can be quite expensive as well."
"So, I thought, we have to adapt and that’s how Art St came about."
Karen Collins - Art St
Art St and its members are a fellowship of Artists who gather together regularly to further their careers and work together on commissioned projects.
Clients of Art St can purchase pieces of art from the Artists or commission a piece of art that then gets painted by each artist in their various personal styles. What the client ends up with is a selection of artwork all based on the preferred subject, in the artist's individual styles to choose from. This is an impressive way to keep the Art St community engaged and for the client to end up with a really impressive piece of artwork.
Karen Collins is currently exhibiting her Climb Every Mountain series at Treasury Hotel’s LAB Restaurant and Ryan’s on the Park, alongside paintings of beautifully bright Queenslander homes by Terri Vidler.
“The series is all about challenges,” she said.
“Conquering a mountain can be similar to facing life’s challenges – it’s really difficult and sometimes painful, but if you just keep going, one foot in front of the other, you know you’ll get there eventually."
“This series was really inspired by my love of hiking and about Brisbane meeting the surrounding mountains. It’s such a contrast here, there are so many places so close to the city that are so beautiful and yet you feel a million miles away.”
Karen added Picture Hanging Systems had been a “lifesaver” when it come to her home studio.
“I was moving paintings around at my studio – once again – and I found that I had a wall full of holes,” she said.
“I just thought, ‘I can’t keep this up’ and then I looked online and found Picture Hanging Systems. It’s just been fantastic."
"The system is so easy to move around and adapt for large and small works. A lot of our Art St artists use Picture Hanging Systems and we all love it.”
Karen uses the Locator classic system a really versatile picture rail that hides its own fixings so all you can see is the smooth flat face of the rail. This rail is ideal for underneath a cornice and also lends itself to a stand-alone rail for high ceilings that are out of reach.
How do I contact Karen Collins?
How do I contact Art St?