According to the U.S. Department of Education, 60% of America’s prison inmates are illiterate.
“It’s a miracle I am not dead, drunk, or in prison right now,” said local artist, Phil Martin. Suffering from dyslexia that was not diagnosed until college, Martin beat the odds and is a successful businessman and artist.
Beginning his artistic career about 50 years ago while studying fine arts at Long Beach State and UCLA, not only is Martin a successful artist but businessman as well. Retiring from his job in 2001, Martin has dedicated his time to traveling, his family and his art.
Spending a year in Lucerne, Switzerland, Martin, along with his wife, Karen, and dog, Finny, traveled through Europe visiting many iconic places.
“I just love the idea of things coming out of the darkness and into the light,” said Martin, “It’s pretty bitchin’ isn’t it?”
Caravaggio, the use of light in art, is Martin’s favorite style. Although Martin traveled to Switzerland and studied with many artists learning to use lighter colors in his art, his true passion is for the darkness in art.
“I tried to lighten up my artwork while in Switzerland and I could do it but it just wasn’t me,” said Martin.
Now residing in Coronado, Martin paints in his studio in his backyard. With trips planned to Africa, Cuba, and Mexico, Martin plans to take many photographs so when he returns to his studio in Coronado he can create art from is photos.
Stumbling upon Coronado while running in the Fourth of July Half Marathon several years ago, Martin and his wife fell in love with the patriotic charm and unique atmosphere the beach town of Coronado had to offer.
“I love this country and know it is a great place to be and when I travel, the people I meet remind me of how lucky I am to live here,” said Martin.
Raised in New Mexico by a single mom, Martin has also lived in Palm Springs and San Francisco where he was an avid golfer and tennis player. Now at his home in Coronado he loves to entertain with his wife and enjoys the nice weather as he sits in his backyard.
“When we are all dead and gone all that remains is our art, that is what we leave behind and that is why it is so important,” said Martin. For this reason he keeps a lot of his art in his private collection to pass on to his family.
Not only is Martin passionate about his own art but also teaching others about expressing themselves through art as well.
If the school system continues to devalue art as an important element in the curriculum, the future is rested in the hands of uncultured students.
“When I graduated from high school I could hardly read,” said Martin, “so what does that tell you about the school system? Art saved me, art makes a statement and this is my voice; this is how I communicate with the world.”
Although his art is displayed in a gallery in Switzerland, none of his pieces are on display in Coronado other than in his home. For more information and to view his art visit: Phil Martin’s Website.
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