About Me

My name is Oscar Luis Martínez, and I am an accomplished artist from Maraguez, Puerto Rico, now residing in Chicago, Illinois. My upbringing in the Caribbean has deeply impacted my imagination and my connection to nature. My passion for art, science, and creativity has been with me since childhood, surrounded by artistic expression that has shaped who I am today.

My Background

I received a Bachelor of Science in Medical Art from the University of Illinois Medical Center in 1977 after studying science and art at the University of Illinois in Champaign for four years. I have honed my skills in painting and mural art and have had numerous group and solo exhibitions throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, and the Southeastern and Midwest regions of the United States. My work has been shown at prestigious museums and galleries, including the Museum of Bellas Artes and the National Historical Museum in Mexico, The Museum of Art in Puerto Rico and the Field Museum of Chicago. I have also been actively involved in the Chicago mural movement, painting numerous murals throughout the city, including one that is considered a historical landmark at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I have held various positions, including Chair of Media Arts for the Illinois Arts Council, President of the Latino Institute of Chicago (a Latino think tank), and Artist in Residence at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. I am currently the director of Oscar Luis Martínez Fine Art and the founder of the National Puerto Rican Museum of Art in Chicago.

Artistic Vision

My artistic vision is centered around capturing the essence of my subject matter and evoking an emotional response from the viewer. I believe that art has the power to inspire, to heal, and to bring people together, and I aim to create pieces that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also thought-provoking and meaningful. I approach each project with an open mind and a willingness to experiment, constantly looking for new and innovative ways to bring my vision to life.

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about me and my work. I am excited to growing as an artist and sharing my artistic vision with the world. I am committed to using my talents to make a positive impact and inspire others. I hope that my pieces will bring joy, reflection, and a deeper understanding of the world to those who view them.

About my artwork

Art is a form of self-expression and as an artist, I strive to create pieces that resonate with viewers on a personal level. The beauty of art lies in its ability to evoke emotions and spark creativity, and I believe that the viewer's own experiences and perspectives play a vital role in shaping their understanding of my work.

I believe that my paintings are like puzzles waiting to be solved, each one holding a unique and personal story for those who are willing to look beyond the surface. I do not want to impose a singular interpretation on my art, as I believe that art should be a collaborative effort between the creator and the viewer.

In conclusion, as an artist, I feel that the true value of my work lies in the connection it creates between myself and the viewer, and the many interpretations it evokes in their mind.

Artist Statement

As a Chicago-based Puerto Rican artist, the diverse and vibrant city has greatly impacted my artistic development. My experiences of feeling like a foreigner in my current environment have influenced my creative ideas and have been the foundation of my artwork. The loss of my birthplace, which is now underwater due to a dam, has left me with a sense of not belonging anywhere, but my artwork is a tribute to the memories of my tropical paradise and the richness of my cultural heritage.

Despite facing barriers and limited recognition in the past, as a Latino artist in an international community of contemporary artists, I remain dedicated to my heritage and culture. In my series "Metamorphosis, Genesis Paradigm" and "Resemblances", I delve into the themes of mysticism and goddesses, exploring the contrasts between light and dark to create a sense of mystery and tension. The mysterious figures in my paintings symbolize the illusions of the human mind and the changing perceptions of reality.

My latest works, including the self-portraits in the "Resemblance" series and the "Puerto Ricans" series, examine the turmoil, movement, and hope of my heritage. Through my use of passionate expressionism, I invite the viewer to revisit memories and experience the mystical landscapes of my tropical home, Maraguez.

My work is a unique blend of abstract and figurative forms, incorporating my personal memories and imaginative subconscious. I use a highly personal, metaphoric language to express my vision of the multiple facets of reality and my belief in the power of the imagination to reinterpret and reinvent it. The shimmering figures in my canvases emerge from multilayered "carvings" and are surrounded by abstract representations of their environment.

In conclusion, my art is an expression of my self-exploration, an obsessive pursuit of the fabrications of my imagination, and a celebration of my cultural heritage. Through my imaginative and metaphysical language, I invite the viewer to experience the reality of their inner world.