Josh Martin | 2010
To those who wish to see it, there is beauty in decay, and there is decay everywhere, so it logically follows that there is beauty everywhere. Sometimes that beauty needs a bit of coaxing into the open, however, and that's where I step in.
When I explore abandoned industrial sites or alleyways with discarded piles of old machinery and sheets of corroding metal, I know that there are other worlds hidden in and among the flaking paint and blooms of rust just waiting to be captured and brought forth.
When processing the raw digital images that I've collected, there's a palpable sense of rehabilitation and repurposing, as if I'm pulling new life out of something whose passing would have been meaningless and forgotten about otherwise.
The most incredible moment is when I take a finished image out of the digital world and bring it back into the physical world. By printing a photograph out and hanging it for people to experience in person, it's as if I've set that image free, back into the wild, fundamentally changed for the better.
I was born in 1970 in Southern California, and I lived in the Orange County area until I went to college. My Dad was a college professor of photography, so there was always a photographic element to my life. My stepmother was a professor of art history at USC, so there was a certain saturation in modern abstract art in my childhood as well.
I graduated from UCLA in 1993 with a degree in theater arts, of all things, and though I was always an "artsy" type, it never occurred to me to make fine art. But I did always feel the need to express myself, so I was in bands, I was a makeup artist, I was a drag queen, I had strange hair - the usual stuff for a 20-something creative-yet-directionless type.
I moved to Seattle in 2004, and I began taking photos almost immediately upon my arrival - the grey, wet environment was such a complete 180 from the perpetually warm & sunny weather of Los Angeles. Both rust and moss were particularly fascinating to me, and I felt compelled to photograph them.
The more photos I took, the more I realized I was being influenced by artists that I'd been exposed to when I was growing up - Rothko, Diebenkorn, Calder, & Twombly among others. The few people that I showed my work to always said I should consider "going public" with it.
It took until early 2010 for me to actually print any of my work and hang it, but once I did, the reaction was immediate and very positive. With the creation of the official website and the self-publishing of two hardcover volumes of my work, pieces have been selling and the thrill of seeing them in people's homes and businesses is wonderful. My next gallery show is scheduled for July-September at the Oasis gallery in Wallingford, Washington.