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Meet Dominique Martinez in Tucson

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dominique Martinez.

Dominique, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I am 21 years old and currently studying for a BFA in Studio Art with an emphasis in Photography at the University of Arizona.

Photography was always something I was interested in when growing up. One of my very first cameras was a pink and purple 35mm flash camera with a Bratz doll on it which my mother had bought me when I was five or six years old. I wanted to be the one in the family who was in charge of the camera taking photographs of our precious moments at birthday parties or at home spending time with each other. For me, photography was always a hobby and not something I took seriously as I only saw it purely for aesthetics. In high school, I was obsessed with capturing sunsets and posting all of my sky photos to Instagram. I knew almost nothing about the art world and community until I decided to major in photography when applying to colleges in 2015. I went to my first art museum on campus the summer before my freshman year, and it made me realize how clueless, yet influenced I was about this field. My first intro to photography class enlightened me about a whole new way of working and thinking about images. I just remember being so incredibly inspired and in awe of the various artists we were shown in class especially, Carrie Mae Weems and her “Kitchen Table Series”. Before college, I was not exposed to fine art photography and all of these talented artists who could create narratives and otherworldly scenes with a camera.

Now, as a senior in college and many studio classes later, the history of art does not feel so foreign, and I have a pretty good grasp on how to engage with my camera in order to make successful photographs. My portfolio contains a mix of conceptual images that display my interest in creating work about self-identity, femininity, fashion, and social issues, With the help of amazing professors and my peers, I have become more confident with myself as an artist and I am motivated to continue learning about what it takes to be a creator. I recently had my first art reception and image “Still,” 2017 shown at the Tucson Museum of Art and Historic Block as a participating artist in the Arizona Biennial 2018 exhibition. The first of hopefully many more experiences to come.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I would say that my relationship with photography has been a complete learning experience. When I had to seriously take my photographs to the next level, I was afraid of them not being good enough. I had minimal experience and never owned a DSLR camera until it was required in my sophomore year of college. I didn’t really think about the need to have an expensive camera when I had no way to afford it, and a smartphone camera that could still take high-quality images. Again, before college, I hadn’t considered myself a creative person with the ability to produce content with careful intent.

My biggest struggle was finding a way to make honest work that could truly communicate with my audience. My artwork lacked my personal idea of authenticity and compelling nature. As a young adult, I only had so much life experience, and it wasn’t until I worked through concepts of identity within some of my projects titled “Starry-eyed” and “Dissonance” that I thought I was actually onto something. During that time I also began using myself as the subject in my photographs and that further pushed me to believe that I finally found that sense of vulnerability and feeling of finding my voice as an artist in such a diverse and innovative community.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Dominique Martinez – what should we know?
I am most proud of how far my craft has clearly developed over the years and evolved into a variety of topics I believe are important to cover. My work that deals with feminism and the overall notion of femininity are most recognizable. My series, “Lady Parts”, communicate my position as a minority and female photographer who is open to challenging my audience with provocative close-ups and abstractions of women’s bodies. It is always a topic that I unintentionally (and often, purposely) come back to time and time again to convey. My subjects and the way in which I merge my concepts with my photographs is something that I find quite distinctive. I am visually storytelling while simultaneously not explicitly spelling everything out. My goal for a viewer is to investigate and examine every aspect of my image in order to land somewhere that makes sense to them. Whether or not their own personal experiences confronting my piece aligns with my specific concept.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
It is equally important to be both proactive about getting your work out there and completely transparent about who you are as an artist and what your work entails. Playing an active role in the art community by creating and seeking out opportunities to view and speak to others’ about their artwork is a privilege and also vital to my success.

Contact Info:


Image Credit:

Dominique Martinez, Willow Photography

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