Eddie Martinez was born in 1977 in Groton, Connecticut. He spent his earliest years in Brooklyn, but the family moved all over the country, and settled in Florida, Massachusetts, Texas and California.
He did graffiti art all through high school and after graduation, but stopped when he was in his early twenties because he didn’t want to risk jail time. He attended the Art Institute of Boston, but dropped out after the first year, moved to New York and went from painting graffiti to painting large canvasses in his Brooklyn studio.
Martinez worked as a house painter and an art handler. “I’m not alone in saying this,” he said in a recent interview in Juxtapoz magazine, “and I think a lot of artists would say probably the same thing, but the job that will get you closest to the art world is being an art handler in an institution, gallery or shipping company. On a daily basis, you’re at least seeing paintings that would not normally be seen. You’re handling them and hearing the vocabulary used to describe them. And I was a really bad art handler.”
Martinez’s early work was made up of representational paintings that had the bold lines and colors of graffiti art. His first solo show was at the ZieherSmith Gallery in New York in 2006. That first solo exhibit and numerous group shows led to a residency at Bauernmarkt, Lenikus Collection, Vienna in 2008 and First Place, Best Group Show in a Commercial Gallery for the Boston-area, by the International Association of Art Critics Awards in 2007.
His works have been shown at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, the Yuz Museum in Shanghai, the Bronx Museum, the Drawing Center in New York, and other major museums and galleries.
His recent works retain the bold lines and colors of his early work, but are larger and more abstract. Martinez silk-screens his own drawings onto canvas and paints over the colored forms or outlines them with white paint. He also creates sculptures and has collaborated with Hypebeast to create a limited edition stained glass lamp based on Blockhead, a recurring image in his works.
Martinez lives and works in Brooklyn. He has a studio in Williamsburg and an apartment in Greenpoint, that he shares with his wife, artist Sam Moyer, their child and their french bulldog. The couple has been honored for their work with the Free Arts program, mentoring teens who are interested in art.