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Artist Marrin Lee Martinez

Marrin Lee Martinez (b. 1989) is a Multidisciplinary Artist living and working on California’s Central Coast. Through her creative work and community engagement, she is an advocate for maternal mental health.

Marrin earned her Undergraduate Degree from Emerson College followed by a vibrant career in the Performing Arts. Notably, she has performed at LACMA’s Bing Theatre, internationally with The Walt Disney Company and taught dance at private studios all over Southern California.

In Motherhood, Marrin has found rhythm in the Visual Arts. Her quirky textile-based work has been shown at several cause-driven events, including Phase One Foundation’s Art vs Cancer at Various Small Fires in Los Angeles. She has been featured by the Artist/Mother Podcast, Create Magazine! and Carve Out Time for Art. Her soft sculpture solo show “Touchy Touchy” is currently on view at San Luis Obispo Museum of Art.

When she is not exclusively art-making, Marrin enjoys sloppy kisses from her bloodhound puppy named Muppet and belting Broadway show tunes in the car with her spunky daughter.

"I make soft sculpture and textile collage depicting abstract and deceptively playful scenes. Through the use of specific, narrative-soaked materials, my work untangles dark themes relating to my mothering experience and the domestic realm. I often lean on levity as a means to approach the seriousness of maternal mental health, emphasizing the absurd lack of support for families in American society and the shortcomings of contemporary Feminism.

At the core of my practice, I manipulate vividly dyed fabrics and up-cycled household materials into otherworldly forms. I find that the process of collecting, agitating, tearing, fraying, twisting, knotting, weaving, stuffing, mending and piecing together imitates the motions and emotions of parenting. The resulting work is imperfect, strange and wonderful."

Tell us a little about yourself and your background in the arts.

I am an Artist and Mother based in Morro Bay, CA. Although much of my professional background is in dance, theatre and choreography, I pivoted into visual art when my daughter was born. I currently identify as a self-taught artist, but just dove back into academia in pursuit of an MFA!

What kind of work are you currently making?

Recently, I’ve become very intentional about the materials I use in my soft sculpture. I’m working on a series of pieces using an overpriced linen duvet cover my Partner and I received as a gift from my Mother-in-Law off of our wedding registry. My young daughter and I used dye to paint rainbows and muddy puddles into the fabric, which I’ve since cut, sewn and stuffed into thorny shapes. I love the contrast between hard/soft and dark/whimsy. When I run out of this batch of technicolor bedsheets, I have a bubblegum pink tablecloth that I inherited from my late grandmother. Although I typically use nontraditional and domestic materials, I’m enjoying how storied these specific textiles are- they feel so loaded and powerful.

What is a day like in the studio for you?

When it comes to studio hours, I take what I can get. I have limited child care, and therefor toggle between parenting responsibilities and art-making. My studio is in our garage, but I end up doing most of my work at the kitchen table while I hurl activities and distractions at my kid. When I can, I try to include my daughter in the making process. Sometimes it’s magic, sometimes it’s chaos. I like to think that this tension is fuel and endless subject matter for my art practice. No two days are alike and I tend to whatever is [metaphorically] “on fire.”

What are you looking at right now and/or reading?

I have almost finished reading “The Flowering,” Judy Chicago’s most recent book recounting her lifetime of creating feminist art. I snuck up to San Francisco and caught her retrospective at the de Young Museum on its closing day. It was extraordinary. I’ve also been binge-watching The Great Pottery Throw Down in preparation for a few ceramics courses I’ve enrolled in.

Where can we find more of your work?

To see more of my zany world, my website is and I am @marrinleemartinez on Instagram.

My solo show “Touchy Touchy” is currently on view at the San Luis Obispo Museum of Art through February 28th. I will also be curating a virtual group exhibition featuring the work of self-taught, female-identifying artists through Roaring Artist Gallery. That call opens in February, so keep your eyes peeled if you are interested in submitting your work!

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