Lilian Martinez

Lilian Martinez

Please tell us a little about yourself (just a short introduction)

My name is Lilian. I’m a visual artist. I was born in Chicago. People call me Lil :*) 

What's your background in art? How did art making first find its way into your life?

Photography was my first introduction to art. It felt more accessible than any other medium for me. I thought that it was something I could learn to do. At the time I thought that artistic talents were ordained at birth or something. I was never introduced to art as a child growing up. I didn’t know what art really was. I just knew I had a desire to make images. When I started painting about 4 years ago. It was very liberating and very fun. 

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

What advice would you offer to people interested in pursuing a career in the arts?

Have fun and work really really hard. Learn about the art that you are interested in. Find inspiration wherever you go. 

What keeps you motivated and engaged in your creative practice and how do you maintain it? 

I think making work that I am excited about keeps me engaged. Working for myself keeps me motivated. 

Could you describe a moment, experience or situation that profoundly changed or influenced your work? 

No not really. I think sometimes we place huge expectations on achievements, projects, goals etc. When in reality it’s a slow build. Moving to Los Angeles really inspired me and helped me refine my practice but I had to put in the work and it took time. 

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

How has working with textiles for the past five years, changed or impacted your creative practice?

I started working with textiles before I started painting. My textiles are based on digital illustrations. I think drawing digitally was a good transition from working with mostly computer based work to painting. It is nice to have a more accessible option for people that want to integrate art into their lives but don’t have the means to house or purchase a painting. 

Could you discuss the types of imagery that you convey and chose to include in both your paintings and textiles?

When I started drawing I focused on brown bodies and elements that I thought looked beautiful or humorous. I didn’t really think about the type of work I was making. I was just having fun and making images that felt right to me. As I started selling and showing my work more it felt important to figure out why I was choosing to make this type of work. I think I was gravitating towards making this type of work because I was really bored and tired of non-inclusive narratives. 

Museum Mini (50 inches x 36 inches)

Museum Mini (50 inches x 36 inches)

I enjoyed learning about why you paint figures large, however, I notice you also give some images in your pieces like a Nike swoosh or a basketball or plant leaf a lot of space within the frame of the work. Could you speak to this juxtaposition? 

In my textiles I usually allow more space within the frame. I think it’s a design decision. It acts almost as a pattern. I place things where they feel right to me within the frame. Sometimes I think coming from a photography background influences the way I choose to compose and balance images. 

How has social media helped or hindered you as an artist? 

It has helped me share my work, but it hasn’t helped me make work. It has been a really good way to be able to connect with people. It has also lead to commissioned projects.  

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

How important has social media been in your success? How has your relationship with social media evolved alongside running a small business and your creative practice?

It has made it easier to share work and facilitate sales and professional relationships. I really like to treat it as a tool. It is a tool that helps me share and connect. I think it has been beneficial that I enjoy working with it. It’s fun to document my work in a way that feels intuitive to me. 

Are you currently working on any upcoming projects you can share with us?

I have an upcoming show this spring in Japan at Commune Gallery :~)


“Soft Shades” is on view at Nationale from February 3-March 11, 2019

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale

All images Mario Gallucci courtesy of Lilian Martinez and Nationale


Find Lilian at:

Special thanks to May Barruel for help coordinating this interview.

Jeremy Castro-Cook & Sam Scott

Jeremy Castro-Cook & Sam Scott

Aby Henry

Aby Henry

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