Brijit Martinez is an artist who describes her paintings as bold, sexy, and bright. She also sells handbags and apparel with her art on them, so that women can carry this confidence wherever they go.
Martinez is new to Indianapolis but is already busy immersing herself in the Indy arts scene. She recently participated at a RAW art show, where we stumbled upon her work. Last week she stopped by the PATTERN office to talk about her inspirations, and give some advice to aspiring artists.
Julia Bluhm: How did you get started as an artist? What was your training?
Brijit Martinez: I’ve never had any formal training. I’ve been an artist from when I was old enough to hold a pencil or crayon in my hand. My mom has paintings of mine from when I was four years old. She still has them framed. I loved art class in school, I was always one of the best artists, and I took pride in that. I always had creative projects on the side in school and high school. I knew I had a creative ability, but I didn’t know what to do with it. I went to college and studied finance at Florida State, and started my corporate career for a Fortune-500 company. But eventually I got bored of it, and I started to paint and post my paintings on Facebook. I got really good feedback. First, I was painting people for free. And I think when I sold my first painting I sold it for like $50, and I was thinking, “woah, did someone really just pay me $50 for this?” That was back in 2010. It’s been growing organically since then. I have a business plan, and I’ve really been trying to grow a brand online and on Instagram.
JB: So you’re a full time artist. What does being an artist mean to you?
BM: For me it means creating designs that are attractive, unique, bold, sexy, and can be worn. That’s kind of my tagline: I believe that art should be worn and life should be painted. So designs that can be worn as artwork on your apparel, but also can be art in your home is my goal: no matter where, it can make you feel really stylish and trendy and unique.
JB: What kind of apparel do you sell?
BM: Right now I’m doing t-shirts, sweatshirts, and I do have handbags that I paint on as well. All of those have a similar theme. I like to stick to the same color scheme. I like a black or white background as a base, and then I just throw in colors like red and teal, and I love metallics and bling.
JB: What made you want to try putting your art on apparel?
BM: I’ve always loved fashion. I actually would get a lot of questions from people about whether I had shirts with my art on them. It’s hard to put a design on a t-shirt; it’s not a one-step process. You have to convert the image to a vector, you have to think about the quality and fabric of the shirt– you have to think about all of that. But got some many requests, I just decided to figure it out. And my apparel sells really well, people love it.
JB: What are your inspirations?
BM: I get inspiration from a lot of makeup artists believe it or not. I like painting lashes and lips. I’ll see a picture of a face that someone did, and I’ll be really excited by bright lips or different colored lips or colorful eyelashes. I’m also inspired by the artist Lina Valentina. Her work is also very sexy and bold.
JB: You’re from Florida, and you haven’t been in Indianapolis very long. What do you think of the Indy arts scene so far?
BM: I wasn’t sure what to expect when I came to Indiana. But everyone I’ve met, especially people involved with art, have been so great. My realtor who helped us find our house is really plugged in with different art events and boutique owners. And there have been some art festivals recently with great turnout. So even though Indianapolis isn’t a major metro city, there is really a need, desire and appreciation for art here.
JB: What’s your advice for young artists?
BM: Always remember to network. My network has gotten me further in life than anything else– further than my education, further than money. Your network is really your net worth. Talk to people, ask questions, don’t be afraid to go up to someone at an event and just say, “what to you do?” because everybody has a story.