Untitled by Toni Martin

Untitled by Toni Martin

Contributed photo
Toni Martin, a Dallas-based visual artist, combined acrylics, music, and a bit of secret fairy dust with the memories from her life experiences to create her first solo exhibition titled EUPHORIA.
Toni Martin: Euphoria

The expansive show includes 76 pieces created over the last two years. Martin's work is on display at Random Art Gallery until August 28. Each piece in the show utilizes a technique Martin spent the past six years perfecting of painting with a mix of acrylic paints, ink and pigmented dust, that she refers to as fairy dust. 

A portion of the proceeds from the exhibition will benefit Alley's House. The Dallas-based non-profit provides a stable, nurturing environment to help teen mothers through counseling and workforce development.

A splash of color: Toni Martin's Euphoria at Random Art Gallery

Martin, a Dallas resident for the past 10 years, said she has always been creating, but it wasn't until her senior year at Plano West that she decided to commit herself to creating art full-time and that her early years of trying to make ends meet through her art were influential to the work in EUPHORIA. 

On the eve of the closing celebration for the exhibit, which will remain open through August, Martin reflected on what her work means, what influences her and what she hopes visitors take away from her exhibit:

What does EUPHORIA stand for in regard to your work?

Toni Martin

Toni Martin

Contributed photo by Jason Sanders

EUPHORIA stands for having clarity when I do the work. Everyone has their hardships trials and tribulations in their life and when I paint, especially for this show, I listen to music and it allows me to reach a meditative state. It has a blend of emotion behind it and when I am painting that the mediums I use are very fluid so when I am listening to music and working with the mediums it is almost like doing a dance with the pigments.

Can you tell me about the technique and the mediums you've used in this show?

There are some secrets — it's like when there is a magic act, if you know the secret, then it isn’t as beautiful. But, there's acrylic [paints], pigmented dust, I would call it fairy dust and texture based products. I might go find rocks or build the texture up myself. Then an acrylic resin top coat.

The pieces are all very vibrant, how did you choose the colors?

I wanted people to come into this show experiencing the colors. Each one sets a mood for who you are. It is almost like self therapy. When people see my work it is very vibrant, but that comes from seeing the light in the dark.

It exudes something very beautiful and vibrant, but it branches off living through chaos. That’s what makes it awesome, this type of art, art speaks universally to people. But this work being so fluid and abstract, I didn’t want it to be so contemporary, it is, but it is more modern and fluid. I wanted people to connect with it. Color is a big thing for me. It is a big part of the way that people live their lives.

I believe that the emotion in color speaks to people.

The texture represents the struggle of reaching that beautiful moment. It is like when someone is in love. You don’t start off in love. First you like each other, then you learn more about the other person and you have experiences together and you fall in love. 

This is an enormous solo-exhibition, what are some of the highlights? 

There are 56 7 x 7 inch squares called the "My Heart Still Beats" collection. One wall is dedicated to them. They are all abstract hearts on canvas. The concept came through a weird breakup for me. I started doodling hearts and then I started making bigger and bigger ones. 

Whether your heart has been trampled on, or if your heart is beating loud, it is beating to the color of your soul. If you see one that you connect with, then it represents your heart and your soul. You choose what to love and that adds to your soul, the good, the bad.

Cube art cant wait until im done. #cubeart #cube #monster #fuckit #colors #cowboybeebop

A photo posted by Toni Martin (@toniart22) on

There is a painted cube that I designed to represent the newfound structure in my life.

Then there are two flat based paneled paintings. There is one that is 3 x 7 feet they have white in the center that look like milk spilled on them and then this marble-esque oozing in from the sides of the painting. When you hang it on a white wall it looks like the white wall goes inside the painting.

It represents that I had a blank space inside of me and that I was caving in. The blank is me being optimistic and allowing for opportunities to come in, but I was still surrounded by the stress of making it which is the colors.

What influences your work?

I love, this is odd, but I love watching the Discovery Channel, Blue Planet, stuff like that. The colors in nature inspire me because in nature all they know how to do is exist naturally. There is something very tranquil about that. I love to cater to those colors and I identify with them.

I like to listen to Glass Animals, Moby and Black Mill. While I’m painting I always make sure that I have something on. Sometimes I will listen to the same song for hours because it captures what I am feeling and puts me into hyper mode.

Why are you partnering with Alley's House?

Alley’s House emailed me about five or six years ago about an art auction and that they were looking for pieces to donate. I donated one that was about 2 x 2 feet of Twiggy. When they sold that piece, they still gave me a percentage of the sale and that helped me pay rent, which helped me get to where I am today.

Now that I have the ability to give back even more than I did five years ago. I don’t know the women there personally, but there is a place in my heart for women who need guidance and Alley’s House does that and they helped me without knowing it.

What do you hope people take away from the show?

Excitement! I hope they take away excitement and what this meant to me which was basically to bring people into my world of color. 

This interview has been edited for clarity.

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