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This project was successfully funded on March 26, 2013

The Pursuit Of Happiness (Is A Warm Gun)

by Max-Carlos Martinez


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In 2007 I was accepted into a new residency program, The Salina Art Center in Salina, Kansas, all of the sudden I found myself a citizen of the heartland of America. I had a studio as big as a warehouse, terrific funding, support and time to think. During that summer the presidential election and the Olympics were playing on TV, our nation seeking a defining goal, winning, change. With a found book filled with illustrations from the period of the Western Expansion I was inspired to create a new series. I mapped out a dozen drawings some small, others very large, using these extracted images from our country’s history. Images of the Native, the immigrant, the laborer, depictions of women, others who were thought then to be heroic contributors to our country’s history.

My work has continued to explore our nation’s past, a history of overlooked individuals, races or creeds once vilified or those that shaped national ideology, some without a voice, silenced with no say in their destiny, others destined to be recast from what was once an idealized plateau. The subjects are taken out of their original context and reimagined in glorious technicolor, recast in a story where they are freed from historical constraints and can exist limitless in potential or freed from failure. From presidents to prostitutes, from the other to the tool, each is released from any specific narrative.    

I have been a studio artist for thirty years, I paint daily with very few exceptions. During the last year, after a period of great loss, I initiated what I see as the final chapters in this body of work, one where the figures become more interactive, reliving a fabled story that may never have occurred, one that is based in fact and retold with a tongue in cheek restoration to a land that probably never existed. This series has been shown in three parts so far, I am looking to complete two more stages to this saga. Currently I am living in an historic artist residency known as El Zaguan, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Each resident is entitled to one solo show per year in the communal gallery; this is where I plan on exhibiting the forth part of this series. I have the studio to paint in, this superb blaring motivational and hypnotic natural light. I have a heightened inspiration and focus, this plus the support of my peers, the only thing that I am currently lacking is funding. 

I am here to ask for your support in order to complete this series. My goal is to raise enough money to pay for and fund my studio, get the necessary art supplies, have unrestricted time to paint, pay for the cost of framing for the smaller paintings, provide support material for my exhibition and to create the highest quality of perks for my supporters on USA Projects. If my funding goal is exceeded these monies will be used towards professional photo documentation, a dedicated website, living costs that often go overlooked, to have some breathing space and the time to step back and think about what to paint next. I have happily spent at least half of my adult life alone in the studio, but there is only one way that I have been able to do this, and that is by the generous support that I have received throughout my creative journey. My dedication to painting, to art making, my focus and determination have made me complete, my benefactors understand this, I open my door to them, they are always welcome and never let down. I sincerely thank you for your consideration, time and support.

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