Follow the power lines and take a left at the pine trees, maybe then you’ll be lucky enough to have Yairon Martinez include you in his work. His ability to transform a phone interview into poetic diction mirrors his capacity to fuse nature and humanity into art. The Cuban native is a graphic design student at NSCU, presenting his talent to both the school and the internet world. I had the opportunity to talk to him about what he’s working on and where we can find him next.
How and when did you get started as an artist?
Design school first opened my eyes to the interlace of image and messaging– communication through imagery. I was taking tangent classes, and at the time, I was really into surrealism. It brought out something— the hidden aspects of realities and the influential nature of perception.
I started producing work daily to start diminishing the gap I felt between the great artists and myself. Whatever you can produce in those 30 minutes is what you have. You have the ability to be instinctual and you can’t second-guess anything. When you arrive at whatever that product is, you have to think fast. Set a limit. Hold yourself to using one color pallet or a specific amount of time. These projects gave me a coordinate of comparison. I saw work that was amazing and then self-analyzed why my work didn’t look like that. What was missing? These tasks make you completely self-aware of your design choices.
What made you decide to experiment with foliage and power lines? What’s next?
It was during my phase of these daily experiments that I created this double exposure series. I had twenty-four hours with a rented camera and began experimenting with the multiple exposure feature. In terms of my subjects, I took inspiration from what was around me. There are really beautiful pine trees around my house and the power-lines were the only man-made objects that I saw. The two people in the images are myself and my sister.
I am currently a student, graduating from the college of design at NC State. I want to continue these side projects because graphic design rarely gives you enough room for experimentation. I try to continuously push boundaries of what I can produce. I usually like to write poetic text with my work, using both the image-making process and elaboration through language. Attaching a word to an abstraction definitely makes you appreciate what that abstraction is. Anyone can bend it to whatever narrative he or she wants but a subtle hint from the author can definitely make that idea much more concrete.
Where can we find your work? What will you do after you graduate?
My main output is the internet. I love blogging because it creates a visual journal; you’re documenting your own creativity. I can pinpoint when I made a piece and where I was, and then I can see a trajectory of how I’ve grown. Functionality anchors me to design while art can only give you perspective and commentary for a brief moment. I think for now the only place where art and design live together is in editorial design and print- in letting consumers connect visually to an idea. Once we settle for something that doesn’t allow us to create, work gets redundant and monochromatic. I think I will always experiment with image-making because it’s such a perfect outlet.