Artist chas martin

Oregon, USA | Mixed Media Sculpture

Chas Martin

Artist Statement

My sculptures are symbolic characters. They are both contemporary and timeless, multicolored, genderless archetypal metaphors. Their gestures tell stories by amplifying human qualities, emotions and circumstances. These stories are the social ties that bind us together.

My current body of work began about 8 years ago. I had been a traditional watercolor landscape painter for years. My growing fascination with anthropology led to studies of petroglyphs. These simplified archetypal images suggested a style for sculpture. Converting that style into 3D was my starting point to develop my most distinctive work ever.

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Artist Statement Cont’d

Similar to how a playwright develops a character, I produce dozens of sketches to discover each character’s essence. As their personality emerges, I build a complicated steel wire armature which is basically a line drawing in space. It can be manipulated until the nuances of the hands, attitude of the head and overall gesture are perfected.

The first skin is papier mache. Layers of additional fibers saturated with polymer create a rigid, textured surface which I paint with acrylic. The bases are carved marble. The results are forms unachievable through ceramic or other media.
The scale of these sculptures ranges from 14” to 30” tall. This past year, I created my first 6’ sculpture with a welded steel armature, carved architectural foam and a fiberglass skin. Having solved the challenges of scaling my work, nearly every piece I have previously created becomes a maquette for a larger work. One goal for the new year is to enlarge several existing pieces while adding to my existing body of table-top sculptures.