Marty Baptist Interview
When did you first pick up a board and what was your first set up? I got a plastic green dart from Kmart when I was real young. Then around 1987 I got a pig shaped blank for my birthday, Edward 215 trucks, kryptonic wheels. My first new pro board was a Powell Peralta Tommy Guerrero, the one with bonite and a round nose.
And with art, when did that begin? I'd have to say drawing on stuff at school, folders, books, desks and stuff. Getting taken to galleries and museums at a early age by my mother, doing oil painting classes as a kid, drawing on grip tape, walking into skateboard shops and galleries and getting blown away.
What have been your main influences throughout life so far? Family, friends, skateboarding, music, art not in any particular order (laughs).
...and the board graphics and commercial stuff ? I was doing some art and writing for a few magazines, then starting to do some board graphics around 1996. After that I started a little ‘zine called TIGER. It was just random stuff, with contributors like O’Meally, Ricky Oyloa, Andrew Currie, Gibbo, Dave Adair and Wade Burkitt. From that I did shirts, stickers and pins. Then I started doing freelance stuff for other companies, like shirt prints for company's and skateboard graphics for Cliché skateboards..
Any highlights? The Cliché skateboard bottle series decks. I was stoked on the way they turned out, completely dipped in white paint. Any Our Spot art show that happened. The City Lights show in Hosier Lane, Melbourne.Living and making art in New Zealand with my girlfriend was pretty fun. We had a nice show with Lee(Ralph) over there, Mark Gonzales singing the fine young cannibals. They're just a few things that pop into my mind.
Can you remember the first art/painting you sold? Yeah, I think it was actually getting paid to send of some charcoal drawings to a magazine around 1995. Don't know if that counts? But the first large painting I sold in a gallery was at Our Spot in Sydney, 2003.
Where do you think it all comes from? (inspiration) Umm , I guess from outside or inside, you know I'm always listening to music, eyes wide open on the streets, listening to conversations. It can come from anywhere, the problem is trying to get it all down before it moves on. I like to have a slight distraction when I'm working like music playing or something else going on so there’s something else at play. Picture words I call ‘em, they can really take you places, it’s just enough of a distraction not to be a distraction. Stuff like music and environment can really change a painting. Most of the time I really think it’s all just floating around and you just need to tap into it, and get it down before it floats off. It’s a nice feeling when it feels like it 's flowing through you and you’re some sort of messenger.
How has skateboarding influencedyour art? I don’t know if it has, well I guess it must of in some way, I guess maybe by the way I look at things . A lot of friends from skateboarding pushed stuff like the Our Spot gallery / retail place in Sydney. I’d just finished studying visual arts and had a show there, that definitely helped out as far as exposure goes. They sort of opened some doors,. At the time there was nothing like it in Australia. I think skateboarders are generally more inclined to be creative as that's part of skating and as they get older focus on other stuff as well. The whole skater art thing has been done to death but in the end it’s just a fact that a lot of skateboarders are creative and do art.
Do you see skateboarding as an art form? Skateboarding as an art form? Yeah, it can be to some people and not to others if that makes sense. Some can make it look like a art form and some can make it look like sport.
How do you approach your art? Is it planned or totally spontaneous? Most times spontaneous, sometimes planned. As far as process goes that's more planned, like there are certain rules you have to apply if you want a certain result. As far a subject matter goes, that can come from anywhere.
And thoughts on the current art scene? What scene are you talking about? The commercial art world or these little indie galleries everywhere. There are what they are I guess.
Well this street art movement? Oh that's just a title. Sure, some art is done on the street, always has been. Who makes up these labels? The galleries? The art market? The media? Well I heard it’s the biggest youth culture movement since punk rock, big fuckn deal! The only good thing to come out it is the city streets are full of art and artists are making decent money. It's got millions of kids painting ,that's got to be a good thing, or maybe not.Art is just art. I like to think that art can transcend all labeling.
Any advice to any up and coming artists? Yeah I'd say that if you want it to be your only career understand that you have to still go to work everyday and do your art, there are many different approaches to take. Personally I like the one when you just chip away , do it when you feel like it and keep it fresh. I'm hoping to be around for a while and I never really sit around looking at my own art. I always hope that my next painting is be better than my last. I've always enjoyed doing other odd jobs to bring in some money as well, it has been my naive way of saying “Stuff you art world, I can do this on my terms”. Only now I understand the importance of a agent or manger to do the less desirable tasks for the artist .