Tattoo artist’s work from skin to canvas

Martinson’s work will show with local photographer (Submitted)
Martinson’s work will show with local photographer (Submitted)

Shaun Martinson started doodling when he was just a kid. In high school his family moved to a backwoods area, so he started looking for outlets to ease rural boredom. Messing around with paints and canvas became a fixation.

As Martinson got older, art wasn’t something he had to shove to the side. He dove into the fine-lined world of tattooing and is now a full-time artist at Queen Street’s White Lotus. In spite of his work schedule, Martinson still finds time for the loose strokes of a brush.

“I make tattoos every day, so when I do find time to paint, I create very freely. I enjoy the fact that I don’t have to do everything so perfectly and most of the imagery comes from a sort of story narrative that I can kind of imagine,” said Martinson.

“There will always be an influence from tattooing in everything I do, but I try to separate the two as much as possible.”

After years of painting, canvases started stacking up and Martinson decided to put them on display. Ten years ago, Martinson threw up a slew of his work at the Taproom, now the Wilser’s Room.

“I think all artists want to share what they make. I personally enjoy making things that get a reaction and enjoy listening to how others may interpret the imagery. Everyone grows up with differing developed personality through various experiences and will interpret what they see according to these. It’s why it is interesting for others to see
and try to relate to whatever artists make.”

Martinson has been at it again. He created a batch of new paintings he noticed were on the verge of piling up, which meant another showing was in order.

This week some of Martinson’s art will line the walls of the Wilser’s Room alongside work by New Brunswick photographer Mike Erb. Martinson’s brightly colored paintings will stand out against Erb’s scenes of wooden sheds, peeling paint, and urban grey-scale scenes.

“Our artwork, I would have to say contrasts each other quite strongly which I think will be interesting for the viewer to see such different images together,” said Martinson.

“I feel that the acrylic paintings I have made draw the viewer in by using a bright colorful palette which then engages the viewer with mysterious imagery.”

Erb first met Martinson as the man etching ink into his skin. The two later checked out each other’s art and have kept in contact. Erb had been living in Montreal for the past year, but recently decided to head back to Fredericton.

“Mike contacted right away and asked if I wanted to do a joint show. He knew that I have been working on some new stuff and that I would eventually want to show it,” said Martinson.

Martinson says his selected works for the upcoming show have a thought-provoking theme: an exploration of what is lost physically and psychologically may never be regained or remembered.

“I believe the audience will be captivated long enough to try to interpret the actual subject of the painting and try to figure out what exactly is happening and what it may mean to them.”

The show will go up on Wilser’s brick walls at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 15 and will remain there until the end of March, but the guys are celebrating the first night of their show titled “New Works” with a party. The all-age event will have a DJ. After the exhibit, there will be an after-party for those of age in the Phoenix room.

“I think this show is going to be a good time with good music, great artwork to appreciate, and an after show event that should prove to be a party to remember.”

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