Martin Lawrence is not a man of many words. When I interviewed with him for this piece, I sent him a variety of questions that were aimed to discover the heart of the artist behind such vibrant paintings. He replied, graciously, but his total amount of words in response amounted to just two of my questions put together. Yet his reply told me all that I needed to know about him and his work. His form of expression, of communication, is his art — and that’s exactly how it should be.
Lawrence grew up in the Seattle area for 15 years, inspired by the works of Jean-Michel Basquiat and Andy Warhol. Basquiat’s attention to precise lines and Warhol’s love of repetition is apparent in Lawrence’s work, but the most remarkable thing about his portfolio is his use of color. Eye-catching isn’t an adequate way to describe them. They do much more then jump off the canvas, they invite viewers to step into the painting itself. In paintings like “Snitch” where there are so many different aspects to focus on, the colors around you.
Luckily, Lawrence commented on his technique, “A lot of these colors are from the past lovers that I’ve had, I won’t go into detail, but the extremities of our relationships are as bright as those colors, I have an all or nothing personality, and that’s how my colors come off, I never mix my colors; I let them glow as they are meant to be.”
Lawrence’s love and usage of color speak across the board for his portfolio. In paintings like “Stock Market” and “Grateful Dead,” the vibrant colors have the same effect. Each color has a specific connotation and usage, standing brightly on its own but also contributing to tying the piece together as a whole. In retrospect, interviewing any type of artist is never the same. Regardless of their choice of craft. You can never be sure what the artist will or will not say.
I never mix my colors; I let them glow as they are meant to be.
It’s a difficult job to quantify or explain what your work means without defeating the purpose of creating it. After all, how can you possibly explain something you put your entire heart into? Poets, artists, musicians, writers, all creators can relate to this notion. In the case of Martin Lawrence — every line, every stroke of his brush, and every choice of color speaks for him.