We had the good fortune of connecting with Pamela Diaz Martinez and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Pamela, do you disagree with some advice that is more or less universally accepted?
It’s very acceptable and often encouraged to get out of art/grad school and not get a job, live off parents and friends or to have this vagabond, abstract personae-lifestyle. It is a luxury for only a certain few. I believe an artist should make money first and then make art.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I never expected a few things to happen in my career…
1. I never thought that I would be making biblical art, and
2. That I would have taken a detour from being a studio artist to work in fashion.
My work is about the least known person of the Trinity, the Holy Spirit. The Father and Son get a lot of exposure and are spoken about a lot, however, I find the Holy Spirit to be the most personal and yet esoteric part of the Trinity. In my mind He/She is the greatest super hero. During biblical times the Holy Spirit took the form of wind and fire while entering a room in Jerusalem, and currently still works in similar ways.
In fact, right out of grad school, my ambitions were to make art and keep showing my work in galleries and new places, like pop ups and such.
However, my life took a different turn than expected. My marriage shattered while finishing my MFA, I moved to Laguna Beach to recover and start a new life with art at the center. Which lead me to working with a luxury shoe designer as a Design Assistant. It was a game changer for me. Learning how to design for very discerning men at a high price point completely changed how I see and make art now. It changed how I handle business and clients and how I start a deal and close one. I learned how to deal with money, pricing and witnessed just about everything I needed to know about running a business. It truly changed my art life.
Was it easy? It was excruciating. Studio art is usually self-focused expression, a luxury brand is the designer’s personal expression, however, ultimately to please a client. My ego took a major beating, but it was for the better. I had to learn how to work with what was best for the client rather than what I thought was cool or interesting.
How did I overcome the challenges?
I had to be willing to hear hard truths about myself, my ability to design for a client, and I had to be willing to revise until I was blue in the face and then some.
What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
That I will never make anything that will have the appeal, power or beauty of a puppy or a sunset and my best ideas come from God. Secondly, I would highly suggest taking a career detour, even if it seems inconvenient. My experience working in fashion was like getting a real-world business degree which I have found has only helped me in the long run with my studio practice. Lastly, take viable opportunities that present themselves, when they present themselves and learn from them, even if they seem hard or even boring.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
One day in Atlanta I would start the day with an early morning 3 mile hike at Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area, Cochran Shoals Trail. Followed up by mid-morning breakfast on the patio at Good Kitchen + Market for beautifully plated scrambled eggs, potato hash and chicken sausage. As for the beverage selection, I would suggest sparkling water and an incredibly decadent iced Honey, Orange Latte. Can’t have too many drinks.
After our delicious breakfast, we would head to Ponce City Market; sit on the lawn people watching and when our eyes have been fully saturated, we would walk to the top floor to buy art from local artists out of an old-fashioned cigarette machine. Next, a quick contemplative trip to The High Museum of Art to see the Contemporary Collection and marvel at the architecture.
Then, a little boutique shopping at Sid and Ann Mashburn local ateliers with an easy stroll to JCT kitchen to eat a late lunch/early dinner at the outside bar/patio to watch the graffiti’d trains head off into the sunset. Shortly thereafter, we would head to the Goat Farm to tour artist studios and watch performance art outside under the stars. Lastly, late night Latin Dancing at El Super Pan and a break mid evening to eat their Chocolate chunk, spicy chili cookies to sustain our movement momentum. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
God, Dad and Mom as a single entity, and my sisters have been the most important catalysts in my life. I have had so much support from my entire community; art community and amazing friends. Ultimately, the bible has transformed my life plus my work and grad school profs Henry Leo Schoebel, Anthony Pessler and Curator, Carl Berg have helped shape my voice and approach to art making.
Facebook: pamela diaz martinez
Mitchell Griest: photo of me in front of photos and closeup photo of me with glasses Ben Steele: photo of me sitting on a chair with my photographer Michael Reese Michael Reese: photo Detail of Nascent Totem, Observed and Recorded Permutation of The Holy Spirit XV Vern Breitenbucher: photos of pastel drawings titled: Observed and Recorded Permutation of The Holy Spirit XI, X