EMMA: Hi Fernanda, thank you for taking the time to answer my questions and discuss your art with me!
Would you introduce yourself and share a little of your story with us?
FERNANDA: Hello, I’m Fernanda Martinez, a painter and muralist living in Oakland and running a small brand: La Tinta. I created La Tinta 5 years ago when I moved to California, back then I was fascinated by watercolors and gouache and I wanted to show my illustrations and patterns; eventually painting became my full-time job. Over the past years I have shown my work at small galleries, local shops and craft fairs.
My collaborations include brands such as Anthropologie, Lulu and Georgia, Cost Plus World Market and other local companies.
E: Your paintings incorporate such beautiful colors and organic forms. Could you tell us a little bit about what inspires you and talk about your art’s relationship to nature and the environment?
My inspiration comes mainly from nature. I paint vegetation because I love everything about plants, their color, texture and shapes and how we as humans interact with them. I like to create little stories behind every piece I paint by incorporating different elements, textures and using color to connect all these components. The organic shapes constitute an essential part of my style and they bring a sense of freedom and vivacity into the abstract scenes that I create.
E: Your instagram conveys such attentiveness to the spaces that your work inhabits whether it be commissioned originals for private places or murals in public space and I’m curious if your process changes at all when you are creating for a particular place?
F: Yes, every project requires a different process depending on the location, client and situation that is presented. Over the years I’ve learned how to approach each type of project whether it is a public space artwork or a commission piece in a residential home. The factors to consider differ from timeline to budget, people, materials, to name just a few and every project receives all my attention since I’m a solo business owner.
E: As a follow up to that question, your work appears on so many different surfaces (canvas, walls, textiles, shoes, etc.) and I’d love to hear about how you think about and approach scale in your work.
Painting on different objects and materials comes with new challenges, not only on the scale but also on the process to follow for each project. The way I work on large scale projects require more planning of time and materials; however, the ability to improvise is a must in these types of projects. In contrast, when I work in small objects precision is the most important factor to consider.
E: As I think about how both nature and place inform your work, I’m curious to hear if your relationship to both these things has changed at all during the pandemic or if the pandemic in any way changed your approach to your art practice.
The pandemic certainly affected my business. I redesigned my website and used social media not only to sell my work but also to connect with new makers, retailers and customers, which led to more collaborations and opportunities to diversify my art practice. Personally, I used this time to reconnect with myself and I spent more time outdoors to find peace and inspiration.
E: I saw on your website that you graduated in communications before creating La Tinta; I’d love to hear more about how this focus of study has informed your approach to art making.
I graduated in communications and I worked briefly in marketing and sales back in Mexico. I’m sure that my previous experience has contributed to the way I am growing my brand and how I have conducted different projects over the years.
When I founded La Tinta I understood the importance of creating a proper communication channel between me and my clients and how to convey my vision in all my projects.
E: Finally, what has been bringing you joy and inspiring you lately?
I've found inspiration in the short trips I did the past months, some of the original paintings were created when I spent time in Mexico last January. I wanted to experiment with vibrant primary colors and simple shapes.
Also, I've been very inspired by the ocean lately and by 'Life in color' Netflix documentary.
What brings me Joy lately is to spend time outdoors, even if it's for a short walk around my neighborhood.
Thank you, again, Fernanda! I’m looking forward to getting to see your work in person at Burke!
Shop the residency collection from Fernanda HERE.