Bird’s eye view of art from the heart
By Brooke Jacobson
Pete Martin started his professional life locking up criminals – now he spends his days unlocking his own creativity.
The Brisbane-based artist is known for his aerial-perspective landscape paintings, and said that, despite having had many other careers, he had always been a painter.
“If I paint a landscape, I don’t use google earth, it’s from the dust of my boots – I’ve been there, I’ve walked it,”
“I was an artist first,” he said. “But Dad pulled me out of art school, he wanted me to have a proper career.
“So I was a police officer in Victoria for some years, then I’ve been a house painter, then I taught at the Brisbane Institute of Art and I have run galleries and now I am a professional, full time artist.”
Pete’s works feature many layers of colour and light and he said it was important to him to see the places that he paints.
“If I paint a landscape, I don’t use google earth, it’s from the dust of my boots – I’ve been there, I’ve walked it,” he said.
“For me, art is about telling stories and wanting people to feel. People bring their own experiences to art. You can walk into any exhibition and there’s always at least one piece that has you crossing the room, and who can say why that is?"
“I really love putting colours together that people don’t think are going to go together. It’s just so much fun and I love everything about what I do.”
In 2008, when setting up the Martin Galleries in Nundah, in Brisbane’s northern suburbs, Pete came across Picture Hanging Systems.
“It was recommended to me,” he said.
“We had six shops side by side, with about 170 artists on the books. We were running four exhibitions a month. So that’s a lot of hanging and rehanging.
“I’ve had other systems before, but they were too fiddly. This one – you can hang a show in one evening with just two people. It’s so easy.
“I have the system here in my home studio and at mums’s house for all the family photos.”
Pete added Picture Hanging Systems had made a huge difference to his home studio in Sandgate.
“It means that people can see the art up on the walls,” he said
“It’s not leaning up against the wall on the floor, it’s at eye level, which is where art is supposed to be – you’re supposed to see it.”
Pete said he planned to keep creating art until he can “no longer paint”.
“Being an artist has always been in there, for me,” he said.
“It opens you up – artists are one of the few groups of people in society who do some serious navel gazing; we really think through everything and go ‘ah, so that’s what that means’ or ‘that’s what that person is about’."
Pete uses the Locator extra which although is designed for use in a square-set ceiling has found it to be suitable for use on exhibition panels as well as under cornices in his studio. This is because the rail is strong yet discreet. Hiding fixings means Pete can install in most situations.
Where can I see Pete's work?
Pete Martin is currently exhibiting in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast at De Rucci Gallery:
De Rucci, 977a Ann St, Fortitude Valley, Qld, 4006
How do I contact Pete Martin?
You can find Pete online at: www.martingalleries.com.au or on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/martingalleries/