This story first appeared in the ABQ Free Press, and can be viewed here.
Local Artist Inspired by the Fantastic
There are certain qualities of sci-fi and fantasy that Anabel Martinez said really connect with her as an individual: Science fiction’s creativity in answering “what if?” and exploring vast spaces beyond what we’re accustomed to. Fantasy’s nature and legends, tethered to its dark roots.
They’re a pair of genres in which there is no limit to what the imagination can conjure up, whether it is something totally new or a personal spin on the familiar. These limitless creative avenues drive Martinez to make sci-fi and dark fantasy the focus of her art.
“I think both kind of speak to me,” she said, having physically manifested that sentiment in her work.
Martinez, who said she’s always been especially fascinated by the fantasy stories of different cultures, attended CNM for graphic design. It was there that her hobby of drawing digitally “kicked off,” and where she was exposed to the endless possibilities of computer-produced art, a hobby that’s become her own contemporary sci-fi trope of imaginative exploration.
Later, it would also become the foundation for her day job.
All’s Fair in Love and Cosplay
Martinez is now a full-time graphic designer living in Phoenix, even selling some of her original works in various forms. That came about through a deal of sorts with her husband, who is heavily involved in art of a different sort: cosplay.
“I’d always been pushing him [saying], ‘Look, people sell cosplay stuff at comic-con, you should do it too,’” she said. “His deal was that if he did that, he wanted me to sell some of my artwork as well. So we kind of motivated each other to not just do it as a hobby.”
Martinez said she especially likes how sci-fi and fantasy allow her to experiment with color, something that is evident when observing her work. In fact, color has to be a part of the process from the start.
“Some artists work a lot with black and white and they add the color afterward, but I just work straight with the color from the get-go,” she said.
While Martinez works to make her art all her own, she is influenced by existing stories and franchises. She said there are mannequins set up in her living room, some sporting outfits from video games like “Dragon Age” and films like “Aliens,” so inspiration is always present.
“A lot of my creations have been based on other works or characters,” she said, citing her imagination was only pushed further once she got into videogaming, specifically the vast “Mass Effect” universe. “I had to learn to have a balancing act of respecting the character as well as putting my own spin on it.”
Learning how to consistently accomplish that balance – whether for commissioned work or her own personal creations – is something that has gotten easier the more work she’s produced. But Martinez acknowledged that she sometimes has to put her work down and return to it later.
For someone fascinated by the possibilities of the unknown, Martinez’s art provides her own universe to return to and continually shape, where she can keep testing her own limits and continually find answers to the question: “What if?”