I create because I have to. It is as essential to my being as the food I eat and the air I breathe. My process begins with visions of shape and line. As an object begins to take form, I draw loose sketches of my vision. The forms then begin to take on more distinctive characteristics, and I go over the original drawing with heavier, more defined lines. Once this design has taken form on paper, I chart out the journey I will go with the raw material. It is important to me to leave openings in my plan for spontaneity and I navigate through the process trusting my instincts as I go. While I keep an eye on the map, I retain the right to be impulsive, to change, and to improve my route along the path of reaching my final destination.
My inspirations come from many places. My current work is inspired by my time spent in Ghana. In 2008 my wife and I moved to Ghana, West Africa where we served as Peace Corps volunteers for two years. To say that we were deeply influenced by our experiences would be an understatement.
I found Ghana to be a country of amazing cultural diversity; ecological diversity, and diverse ways of thinking. It is a country filled with wonderful people and great potential but it is also a country of great paradoxes and serious contradictions. My personal journey could also be described as disparate and in incongruous. I felt as if I was being constantly jerked back and forth from deep frustration to profound jubilation.
Upon my return, I continue to develop a body of work that portrays the affects of living in Ghana has had on me. This work is the embodiment of my personal reflections, and the processing of thoughts, and emotions that I go through as I continue to readjust to life back in America. I draw inspiration from the local tribal aesthetics to help express various issues. The work reflects various craft forms and pays homage to the traditional artisans. Through this work, I am projecting the concerns, frustrations, joys, and beauty I encountered on a daily basis, as well as the new perspective I have gained of my own culture.
My inspirations almost always take form as a piece of furniture. I attest this to my practical Mid-western roots, where I was taught that material things should serve a function. I also work with furniture forms because of the scale. It is intimate, yet approachable. My work is art that you do not simply observe, but interact with every day.
The process of creating to me is more important than the finished piece. In my work, I like to leave signs of the maker behind. More than just a signature, the rasp and grind marks are the visual signs of the process. They help to tell the story of its creation. They also give clues about the maker. These “fingerprints” are there to be experienced and help the viewer/participant to attain a deeper connection with the work. I am part of the piece, as are the inspirations and influences that came before me.
* Please contact Chris Martin Furniture or one of our representatives for information on pricing and availability of pieces shown or to commission work to suit your own specific desires.