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Friday, March 21, 2014

Talking with Bay Area-Born RT America Anchor Abby Martin About Art and Life

Posted By on Fri, Mar 21, 2014 at 12:00 PM

Some of Martin's artwork at her SF art show - EVAN THOMPSON
  • Evan Thompson
  • Some of Martin's artwork at her SF art show

You probably know Abby Martin as the RT America anchor who ended an episode of her show Breaking the Set a few weeks ago by stating her personal opposition towards the Russian militant occupation in Crimea. What you probably didn't know is that she's also an artist.

Born and raised in Pleasanton, Martin grew up in an artistic family, but didn't start to really experiment with art herself until she was out of high school. Inspired by nature, National Geographic photos, and artist Andy Goldsworthy (you know, the guy who makes really cool rock balancing formations in nature), Martin "started painting abstract, weird things," she said. "Art became my therapy. It's an amazing outlet."

Although Martin began painting more for herself than for others, over the past seven years, Martin has had art shows all over California, most recently in San Francisco.

"People always say, 'oh, I'm not an artist," Martin said, "and I say, 'have you tried?'

Titled "Psychedelic Earth," her recent S.F. show featured her original photography, acrylic paintings, and intricate multimedia collages.

For Martin, collages are "interactive diaries of [her] life." A lot of them feature ink and acrylic paint over brightly colored photos, and all of them have to be stared at for a while before you figure out what's going on.

"Blood on Their Hands" by Abby Martin - ABBY MARTIN
  • Abby Martin
  • "Blood on Their Hands" by Abby Martin

While many of Martin's paintings and collages contain clearly political imagery -- one of her collages depicts politicians' faces juxtaposed with pictures of bloody handprints, for example -- much of her artwork depicts brightly colored pictures of flowers, animals, and swirling patterns, looking less political and more, well, psychedelic and earthy.

"Art is an incredible way to interpret the ugly truths in the world and reflect a better future," she said. "Art tells a story in an image. It can convey something people might not want you pontificating about. It doesn't shove anything in your face."

Even Martin's more politically charged art is open to interpretation. In the case of the collage of the faces and the bloody handprints, although it clearly makes a statement, everyone who sees it will have a different idea of what the statement is.

"I love to see what people think about my art," Martin said. "When people react to the strong symbols, I ask them what it is about themselves that makes them react in that way."

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Jessica Nemire


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