Jet Martinez’s Murals Transform Their Surroundings

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.

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I had the real pleasure of spending a couple weeks in Cozumel, QR, Mexico with the @pangeaseed and @proyectopanorama crews and a grrrrip of lovely artists for the most recent edition of @seawalls_ . A lot goes into these projects and I’d really like to thank everyone from @pangeaseed and @proyectopanorama, operations, local artists who received us so warmly, restaurants that fed us, hotels that housed us, businesses that sponsored trips for us, So many people ….and most importantly for me, @okellyording. Thanks babe. . More info on the project 👇🏽 . . "Pérdida de Coral es Pérdida de Cultura" (Loss of Coral is Loss of Culture) by supporting ARTivist @jetmar1 (USA) for @pangeaseed Foundation latest edition of our international public art program, @seawalls_ Artists for Oceans in partnership with @proyectopanorama. . Location: Cozumel, Mexico | 20.4230° N, 86.9223° W . Swipe 👈🏽 to view process and detail photos. . Mural theme: Coral Reef Degradation, Bleaching, and Loss of Habitat. . Artist statement: Coral and Coral Reef ecosystems are currently suffering catastrophic losses caused by ocean acidification, human development and many other preventable and now, non-preventable causes. Coral reefs support far more than just underwater creatures. They also support local human and animal communities. As we saw in Cozumel, they also help create a vibrant economy through tourism. That economy, however, can have serious impacts on the Coral. . This mural features a bright floral pattern based on local embroidered shirt patterns. The floral pattern is a metaphor for local Cozumel culture. Directly below the floral pattern, is a stylized composition of bleakly colored coral forms, Sargassus seaweed, and a fish which once used to represent the island of Cozumel. All seems fine above the water line, but as the state of coral reef systems deteriorate, more and more local cultures will be affected and dramatically changed. . PC: @abovebelowphoto . Gracias to @mexicobienhecho for sponsoring all of our acrylic paint and materials for Sea Walls Cozumel. . #pangeaseed #seawalls #cozumel #seawallscozumel #protectwhatyoulove #ARTivism #paintforapurpose #proyectopanorama

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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: