CORINNE MARTIN ART INTERVIEW
Corinne Martin is an artist that interprets iconography of contemporary Arab pop culture derived from tv, music, food, and fashion through her mixed media and paintings. Her inherently colorful work is distinctly fresh and yet exudes a vintage quality, evoking nostalgia for the past while very much being of the present. She’s also very interested in the notion of the region being a meeting point between Western and Eastern sensibilities and the role globalization plays amidst that . Corinne Martin was born in Paris, raised in Beirut, studied in Houston, and now livesin Riyadh. After returning to the Middle East, she was able to experience her roots both as an adult and as an artist from a fresh perspective. The region is experiencing immense cultural growth and has a new, rejuvenating energy that inspires and infuses her work. I love visiting the supermarket and looking at the different products rendered in Arabic script and noting that how they can take on completely different meanings being depicted in an alternate language with its attendant visual and cultural associations.
Greatest inspirations or influences?
- I’ve always drawn inspiration from symbols of Arab popular culture as they reflect the experiences of a younger generation of Arabs who came of age between the East and West. It’s a reflection of what we grew up watching on television, the music we listened to and even, the food we ate. All of these aspects have shaped our visual culture, which is why that kind of art resonates with so many people as it has an emotional connection to their past.
- I enjoy browsing through my blog www.blog.corinnemartin.com to refresh myself on some of the Middle Eastern artists and products I featured in the past and follow up with their progress.
- I also enjoy reading khaleejesque.com and swissmiss.com but mostly I keep in touch with current events through twitter.
How do you think the art world is changing in the Middle East?
There is so much energy there in terms of what’s going on in art and design that you can’t help but be inspired. You could walk through Beirut's Gemmayze’s winding streets and find an amazing piece of Arabic graffiti on a wall, and then enter a boutique and see a clutch by Sarah’s Bag with the exact same graffiti on it. There is a freedom of experimentation there that brings immediacy to the art scene, that you just don’t find in other parts of the world.
Most interesting response to your art work so far?
People get very excited when they see a painting that triggers a memory or brings to life a certain time in their life.
Favorite art galleries?
- Too many to mention, but mainly Lam Art Gallery in Riyadh, Traffic in Dubai, and The Running Horse in Beirut
Favorite boutiques in the Middle East?
- All boutiques have their own beauty and uniqueness, but I like DNA in Riyadh, Sauce in Dubai, Mannoush and Sarah's Bag in Beirut
Upcoming projects or exhibitions?
I'm getting ready for Abu Dhabi Art and working on a new series