If Jet Martinez’s murals prove anything it’s that he doesn’t shy away from color. Based in Oakland, California, where he lives with his wife and two children, his work has been featured in top tier publications and his murals grace the walls of many public streets in the US and abroad in major cities including Oaxaca, Zurich, and Florianopolis. His work has also been commissioned by giants like Facebook and Red Bull.
But it took him some time to get there. After receiving a BFA in Painting and Printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute (before which he studied Spanish Literature at the University Of Colorado), Martinez acted as one of the directors of the Clarion Alley Mural Project in SF’s Mission District for nearly a decade.
“For me, some of my first influences were murals, and I came up in that type of environment,” he recalled in an interview with The Hundreds. “When I started painting murals, I was thinking about that work. I learned about graffiti culture later in my practice, but I’ve never been a writer. I know other friends who came up in strictly graff circles who knew all about that world, but then found out more about the mural masters later in their careers.”
“In my practice, I have realized, I want to make work that reminds the viewer of what it is that we are struggling for,” he says. “Not just the struggle, but also the reason for the struggle. I personally get excited when I see people doing amazing things in public space. To me, that’s the flavor of our country, so I try to participate in my community with my art, and that is my way to play a role in a social movement.”
Take a look at some of his eye-popping work: