By Andrea Stokes –
I’ve been waiting for someone to choose Dan Martelock for an Art Tag. Finally, it happened! Sarah Barbary tagged Dan to be profiled in the next column.
You’ve probably seen his work around the neighbourhood. Have you noticed the Bell Box on Wellington St W., beside the Mac’s? The little bird house replicas attached to buildings and businesses along Wellington West? Have you been to a Martelock colouring night at the Hintonburg Public House? Have you been to an arts-related event in Hintonburg? Have you been inside the Somerset West Community Health Centre to see the bird house installation he and Craig O’Brien built? If so, you’ve seen parts of his oeuvre, you’ve seen him live painting, you’ve seen him covering of ANY kind of surface conceivable.
Dan has been living in Hintonburg for over five years and has contributed to the changing look of our neighbourhood. He is a prolific artist; very driven to draw and paint, on many surfaces, with different media. It’s his obsession. A visit to his home studio reveals various projects in different stages of completion: speaker cabinets rebuilt, reconfigured, decorated; maple syrup buckets left in original form but painted on; same buckets dismantled and attached to barn board; vintage landscape paintings covered in dancing hotdogs!
Dan remembers drawing as a kid: “None of it was any good, it was just what I did.” By the time he was ready to pursue post-secondary endeavours, finding a vocation or stream to be able to channel his talent was a bit of a dice roll. After a wobbly start in another program, he switched to studying Interior Design, which helped hone his drawing and colour skills. He worked for several years in the industry, but felt unsatisfied. He began organizing shows he could be included in, and started creating opportunities for himself wherever he could.
His body of work includes very high elements of silliness, rascally graphics, bright mixes of spray-painted backgrounds with detailed depictions of animals layered over them. His style is distinct – you know a Martelock when you see one.
He’s now taken up organizing shows at various businesses, has regular pop-up shows, and works on commissions. If you’d like to have a birdhouse replica of your home built, he’s your man. I assure you, you will enjoy your encounter with him, because his passion and exuberance for any project is infectious.
This was the final installment of Art Tag, a special series by local artist Andrea Stokes in which each artist she profiled for KT “tagged” their favourite artist for the next issue. Find the others in this series right here.