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Patrick Martinez ~ My Favorite Taco

Patrick Martinez is an artist from Los Angeles who unmasks beauty no matter where it is hiding. His art is impossible to predict, even harder to forget, and he represents Los Angeles on both personal and universal levels. Erwin Recinos caught up with Patrick to discuss his work, our shared city, and of course tacos.

What's your favorite taco?
The chicken taco at El Taquito taco truck on Fair Oaks in Pasadena. Honestly tho I switch back and fourth from El Taquito and Arturo's taco truck on the same street.

Where in LA have you lived? What's your favorite part?
I've lived in: Pasadena, Montebello, Downtown Los Angeles and currently Lincoln Heights. I love all parts of LA for different reasons. Los Angeles is so dynamic, I think the little in-between cities you don't hear about kind of make LA. Like the sgv, montebello, alhambra, lincoln heights. You always hear about silver lake, downtown LA, echo park which is great but there is a lot going on in other cities.

You were named one of the 25 most important artist of 2011 by Complex Magazine. What does that say about your work and the direction it is taking you?
It doesn't change anything. I'll keep on producing the way I always have, It's nice to get a pat on the back sometimes but that stuff doesn't nesseserly fuel my work, but it's nice.

What artists are you currently excited about in the L.A. art scene right now?
I think "LA" art in general has great energy. I love what Known Gallery has to offer Los Angeles, every L.A. Artist they show is on point. Having said that... I'm a fan of Gajin Fujita, Ed Ruscha, Kerry James Marshall and Mr. Cartoon. There are more but too many to name.

What social agenda are you trying to convey with your art?
No agenda, just ideas and concepts I have. They are executed thoughts and observations in the visual form, some from my conscious some from my subconscious. My art represents the Los Angeles landscape and the people in it.

Who/what was the most influential person/thing in pursuing the art?
I don't know if it's just one single person that made me feel great about pursuing art. I think it was a bunch of artists. Early on it was my pops, and friends I was doing graffiti with, spray can art, comic books... Then later on Basquiat, Keith Haring, Mr. Cartoon. I would walk around with Cartoon's "sucker" tees when I was 13 or 14. Hex's fat cap tees, Lil' Lucky's 187 hudda ... All that. Even those graphics pushed my art. I knew these guys where presenting something from the gut and it wasn't commercial like a comic book, it had culture to it.

Do you have anything planned in the near future that our audience should look out for in 2012?
My solo Exhibition @ Known Gallery June 16th 2012. I'm participating in the City of Fire group show curated by Arrested Motion June 5th @ Stephen Webster in Beverly Hills. There are a few other things I could talk about but I'll let time tell you about those.

Lastly, do you have any advice for young aspiring artists?
Keep grinding and win small battles with your art, the home run will come later. This art thing takes time. If you truly love it you will be into it for the long run. When an opportunity presents itself make the most if it. Don't force things, let your art happen organically... Don't be in a rush but at the same time don't be lazy.

Photos courtesy of Brandon Shigeta, Erwin Recinos and Patrick Martinez.

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