Artist We Love: David Martinez of East Los Arte

The paintings of David Martinez fuse bold colors, famous faces, and a Día de los Muertos tone of celebratory macabre.

We 💛 artists. YellowDog has collaborated with many talented artists over the years — usually by making prints of their original works. We’ve helped artists productize their art with everything from giclee prints on canvas and archival posters to stickers and postcards.

In this series, we interview a new artist each month and talk to them about the life and business of being an artist here in Colorado. Today we’re talking with David Martinez of East Los Arte. We’ve become huge fans of his work while producing his art prints.

YellowDog: Hi David! Can you briefly tell us what kind of art you do?

David Martinez: I describe myself as a painter. Acrylic on canvas is my favorite medium to work with. I have recently been working digitally and I really enjoy the accessibility it provides.

YD: What has been your journey into an artistic career?

DM: I have been drawing since I was a child. I was also blessed with two loving and supportive parents that fostered and supported my love of art. I studied art and philosophy in college and my wife Velia introduced me to two artists that would shape me into the artist I am today. Lalo Garcia and George Yepes, both artists from Mexico that would influence my style and subject matter.

After many years of drawing and painting, I started entering my work in group shows starting in California. In 2011 my family and I moved to Colorado where I continue to create and show my work. I often credit my success as an artist to my parents and my wife. The love and support I have received from these three individuals is why I have been able to achieve what I have so far.

david martinez paintings

YD: Describe your artistic style in three words.

DM: Proud, Colorful, True.

The business of art

YD: Do you sell your original pieces? If so, how and where?

DM: I do sell my originals. I have sold my originals through galleries and art festivals.

YD: Do you sell prints as well? Why or why not?

DM: I do sell prints, both giclee and simple reproductions. I do it so my art can reach a larger audience. Sometimes my originals are large and costly, but by having prints I can reach people who love art but may not have the space or the budget for an original.

david martinez RBG portrait

YD: How do you get the word out about your art?

DM: My wife and get the word out by participating in artist exhibits, art festivals, social media and often word of mouth by very generous friends and supporters of the arts.

The artist life

YD: What has been the proudest moment in your artistic career?

DM: I have had many, for the simple reason I am proud and grateful for any success I have because I know how hard this career can be. Two moments that stand out are having my parents witness and attend my first solo exhibition, and having my work become part of the permanent collection of the National Museum of Mexican Art.

David Martinez Soldado Alpha

YD: What part of being an artist do you like the best? Least?

DM: Creating art is the best part, the simple act of self-expression is one of the most rewarding experiences I know. Taking a simple abstract idea, physically manifesting it, and then being able to share that with the world — that is as good as it gets. And sometimes you are lucky and you in turn can inspire others to create art. I am not crazy about the business side of art; it is necessary but not always easy to navigate successfully.

YD: Where do you go (virtually or in-person) to experience great art?

DM: I love to go to museums, all kinds and all over the world. I love traveling and art is often what determines where I travel. When I am not able to travel, like during a pandemic, I love to scroll through my Instagram feed; so much great art is at your fingertips. It is an amazing tool for sharing and selling art.

David Martinez La Jarocha

Rapid-fire questions

Are you a dog person or a cat person?

Dogs are cool, but I am definitely a cat person. You can’t beat the independence of a cat.

Early bird or night owl?

Simple answer: used to be a night owl and now I am an early bird.

Go-to drink of choice?

At a bar, you can’t beat a good beer. At a coffee house, a Vanilla Chai Latte.

Best party trick?

Don’t have a party trick, but I love to share a good story or joke.

chadwick portrait david martinez

What show are you currently binging?

Falcon and the Winter Soldier. I grew up reading comics and I am really just a nerd at heart. Comics were my first exposure to art and a love remains to this day. Oh, I also binged the podcast Renegades with Barack Obama and Bruce Springsteen.

Any book you’re currently reading?

Barack Obama’s A Promised Land.

What do you miss the most about pre-pandemic life?

Going to concerts, movies, art shows, and exhibitions.

david martinez art frida kahlo print

YD: Thanks so much, David. We’re big aficionados of your paintings here at YellowDog, and we can’t wait to collaborate with you on more art prints. 

Where can we find you?

Instagram: EastLosArte
Facebook: EastLosArte

YellowDog Design, Print and MarketingWould YOU like to be featured as an Artist We Love? We’re always looking for local artists, makers, and designers to feature in this series. Get in touch to find out more!

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