Painting became an escape for Paloma Vianey Martinez while she longed for solace away from the turbulence infesting Ciudad Juárez during the increase of violence in 2011.
She found a way to occupy her mind and use her creativity so that she would not become bored or dull.
Martinez, who lives in Cd. Juárez, loved her city and did not want others to perceive it as only “the most dangerous city in the world,” as some would suggest. She knew the potential that her beloved city had and felt she needed to share it with the public.
“When the violence was very abrupt, that meant that I had to find myself at home. I couldn’t go out much and I said to myself, ‘I don’t want to just do nothing, I have to do something,’ so that’s when I started training to be an artist and I started painting more,” Martinez said. “I wanted to depict a composition that could portray the culture and Juárez in a positive context instead of ‘Juárez is world-wide known for terrible things.’ So what I wanted to do was take all that negativity and transform it into something positive.”
Martinez is an art history major with a painting minor and will be graduating this semester as a top 10 senior. She has worked tirelessly throughout her college career to develop her talent and worked toward becoming a successful artist.
As a scholarship recipient, she was able to put all her focus on her craft. She’s spent countless hours using a paintbrush as a means to bring to life her vision of the border. Commuting daily between Cd. Juárez and El Paso, she has a great appreciation toward the borderland.
The painter has a focus on public art and had her artwork displayed publicly.
Last year, she painted a 10 by 30-foot mural at the Consulate General of Mexico in El Paso called “A Bridge Uniting Two Countries.” The mural is a composition that has two windows. Martinez explains that one window represents Mexico and the other represents the United States and these two countries are united by a bridge instead of a division.
“Since it was at the consulate, I tried to stay within the theme of unity, instead of diving the two countries I tried to unite them,” Martinez said. “That mural took many, many hours, but I think it was definitely worth it. I saw it as a service to the community because I do want to become a public artist.”
Martinez had her work exhibited in Mexico, the United Kingdom and will be traveling to Tokyo in a few weeks to exhibit at an international arts fair. She also received a prestigious internship at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City in the summer of 2016.
She will once again find herself back in New York this summer after graduation. She plans to move in July and find work in an art gallery. Although she has some offers, nothing is set in stone, but believes that it is the best place for her to grow her art.
Martinez believes that NYC has many opportunities for artists in the public art area and she will keep applying for opportunities during her time there.
One of Martinez’s goals while in the Big Apple includes getting into graduate school to get her master’s degree in fine arts. She doesn’t know what lies ahead in her future, but she knows that art will always remain a part of her career path and life.
“I do want to paint and keep changing society through art. I see it as community service as a community aspect instead of lucrative,” Martinez said. “I think art has given me a path, I mean I still don’t know if I’m going to be a successful artist, but I have been persistent about it. I’ve been rejected so many times, but at the same time I’ve also been accepted to really cool things.”