Color Studies

If you follow my work you don’t see much abstract art. I have a certain love-hate relationship with abstraction. I greatly appreciate the place of abstraction in the canon of art. I like to stand before abstract paintings and let the color and texture soak into my soul. As a teenager I visited the Milwaukee Art Museum and saw abstraction first hand, the massive scale and seemingly random complexity, and all that three-dimensional paint sticking up everywhere. I was intimidated and enamored at once, like seeing a really beautiful woman up close for the first time. But I liked to draw comics and funny satire and people throwing up and narrative absurdity. A contempt for abstract artists who “copped out” of real drawing and figurative painting developed in me and I felt ashamed. There were two paths and I chose representative figuration and began to hate abstraction for it’s lazy skills and lack of drama. But whenever I got stuck I would make tiny abstractions to get un-stuck, even to this very day. These are all 4 x 5 “.gouache and ink.

Blue Period

Having spent almost two years drawing with black ink exclusively, I thought a little bit of color might be good for the soul. These are just ink and wash at 4 x 5″.

Red Fighters

Just a few quick sketches with red wash 4 x 5″. I am a fight fan, it must be a vicarious fantasy. The last fight I was in was 6th grade and he was a head taller than me. I closed my eyes and through a right hook with all my might aiming for the jawbone knockout. It landed right on his Adam’s Apple and my fist bounced off in a terrible rubbery way. The kid dropped to his knees and made a gagging gasping sound. I thought he would never talk again and I was ashamed and scared, but still proud enough to smugly walk away the victor.

The Crusher

Reginald Lisowski (1926 – 2005) Was known to a certain generation as The Crusher. He was Milwaukee’s local favorite son in the world of All Star Wrestling. Sometimes he was a  tag-team partner with the great Dick the Bruiser. The black and white TV show came on Saturday mornings after the cartoons; we didn’t get to see The Crusher every week, but when he appeared in an interview with Marty O’Neill screaming and sputtering against his next rival or bragging about drinking a quarter barrel of beer and dancing with the “dollies” on Milwaukee’s South Side, we knew he would be fighting that day as well. (read a little more here)   We have him driving one of the ugliest cars ever made: a 1961 Rambler Ambassador made at the Kenosha Wisconsin, AMC plant (of course!).

Take Me Home

There comes a time when even stubble-faced Nancy has had enough for one day. Sluggo is a lovable badass loser, but he also lives in fear of the bully named Spike. Unfortunately their menage a trois must come to an end.

You Can Purchase The Sketchbook of Gregory Martens

 

 

 

100 full color pages of drawings, comics, wit, wisdom, high and low art, and classic interpretations of the masters. Beautifully published in a handy pocket-sized book, perfect for holiday gifts.

See the complete book by clicking on the PDF here.

Price $20 + $4 postage each through PayPal

Size: 5-1/2 x 4 inches

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Great Tribulation Brass Band

Have you ever actually read the Book of Revelation in the Bible? After the letters to the churches, John’s apocalyptic vision begins. The symbol-rich narrative can be seen in two parts: the Great Tribulation and the triumphal return of Christ. I grew up in an Evangelical Christian world and the Tribulation was heavily emphasized in the “fire and Brimstone” that potential converts could avoid. We had a famous book by Clarence Larkin written in 1917 called “Dispensational Truth” which many nicely drawn charts of all the wacky characters in the Book of Revelation. I always wanted to see all the characters jammed into one single drawing, and I just had to draw it myself; all I could fit was the Tribulation. I”l save the Return of Christ for the next one.

 

Potato King

The Potato King, 2017, Ink on found book page, 9 x 6″

The All-seeing Potato King, like Zarathustra’s Ass, never complains, never speaks out against the people; he just sees all. The royal voyeur is the Warhol of Idaho, will you accept him into your heart?

 

The Distractions

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There are things in my studio that call out to me, they desire my attention. I play the drums and have a makeshift kit set up; I jam along to 13000 random songs. There are also stringed instruments and an old accordion that hope I’ll learn to play them. There are also visions, apparitions, and demons vying for some place in my psyche, longing for center stage in the next picture I make. And all those books. I think an artist needs a hobby that isn’t art related, like making music.

Cowboys, Sausage, and Wounds

(CLICK IMAGE TO ENLARGE)

I have one pair of cowboy boots which I wear when I want to feel like a cowboy. A little taller, a little pointier, a little cooler. No hat or dinner-plate sized belt buckle or creased jeans, just those badass black pointy toes sticking out. When I was a cobbler, I repaired many hundreds of pairs of cowboy boots; before we commenced work we often found unusual things inside them. Guns, knives, flasks, money, even a little bag of cocaine, but more than anything else we found women’s panties. The Lost Cowboy may just find himself yet, in a house of temptation. But, who is tempting whom?

The Wound Man is a Medieval character inflicted with every kind of traumatic and potentially lethal puncture and incision, beautiful colored etchings depict his sorry lot. In the late 19th century The Magnetic Belt was advertised as a cure for nearly every ailment – even blunt-force trauma and stapling.

I love Wisconsin, I love to love it and I love to complain about it. That is the right of every state native. A wise 1990’s chat room host once said, “Wisconsin has beer cheese, cheese beer, sausage cheese, cheese sausage, and beer sausage. But not Sausage Beer. Perhaps that’s a good thing. These are Old-Bavarian comfort foods enjoyed best while watching a ball game (of your choice).