Blue Rain Gallery recently sat down with Martin Spei to find out more about the local artist and his extraordinary collection portraying the archetype of man. With detailed facial expressions and body language that brings each character to life, Spei’s artwork tells stories of familiar feelings and places. Whether it’s walking to work against a strong wind or the sensation of dragging heavy, long arms across the floor as you lunge to move forward, each piece illustrates a story we can all recall from our own lives.
“I believe that all real artwork is autobiographical. I am a part of this universe, this world, this country, this culture and this city so of course, my work is going to be a reaction to existing in this life.”
Examining human behavior in everyday settings has always served as a primary source of inspiration for your work. What is a recent observation that inspired you?
“I can’t help but to observe everything and constantly take it all in but recently, with everything going on politically and during the presidential elections, I can’t help but observe some very strange behavior and body language. I haven’t quite put it into a new piece yet but it’s there. There are a lot of interesting things going on right now and it would behoove me to take the time to simply pay attention to it and not react so quickly.”
You once described life as “a series of emotions.” If you had to choose just one emotion to describe your work, which would it be and why?
“I’m not sure the concept of one emotion really exists. I think we’re way more complex than that. I feel that an emotion is really just a conflict of two emotions like, if you’re really angry, it’s actually a conflict of feeling anger and sadness simultaneously. I’m trying to communicate what I feel and see through these pieces so when others view them, I hope it strikes a narrative in them that represents their own history and something they choose to feel.”
Your work has been showcased all over the United States and overseas in Paris and London. What message or story does your work convey that makes it so relatable on a global scale?
“We’re all human and the human figure, specifically, is something we all recognize as ourselves. The things that we find different from one another are far less than all the things that we have in common. We all experience regret, love and hate, regardless of religion or upbringing; power, failure, struggle, struggle, struggle. We all know what it feels like.”
What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
“Be ready for luck. There are a lot of very talented people out there, in every industry, so you need to continue to work at what it is that you love and become good at it until you find success. It’s not even a riddle. Work hard at what you love and when luck comes your way, you’re ready.”