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An artist is one who creates the unimaginable, someone who takes the ordinary and creates the extraordinary. Our artist in conversation today is Robert Martin, the wonderful painter from Canada. Speaking with him was a joy and his love for travel and nature compliments his passion for art. We are thrilled to bring this interview to you this month!

How long have you been painting?

I have been painting since 2011, that's when I started painting about Vancouver Island Canada. I realized my true calling and I have been following my passion since then.

Who are your greatest influences?

My greatest influence is mother nature and the Universe. There is so much beauty and energy which inspires me everywhere I go. I am compelled to capture this beauty and release it onto a canvas!

Did you have a formal education in art and painting or are you self-taught?

Yes, definitely self-taught. I do not have formal education except what I learned in grade school. I think I have always been an artist in some way since I was a child. I was always creating art in different mediums and selling them when I was very young.

Do you have a particular style? How did you become so passionate about this particular style?

No, I don't really have a specific style, the energy around me, guides me to create my work while in sort of a meditation state, I connect to this energy. I became so passionate about painting as a whole, because of the freedom of expression I have when I am creating art. It is an amazing feeling when I am connected with the universe and everything around me. There is such an energy which guides me.

What are your other passions other than art? How have these passions contributed for you to become the artist you are today?

My other passions are spending time in the wilderness, wherever I am in the world. I love being connected to nature. I am part Iroquois - native North American and it is because of this great heritage that I feel that there no other place I feel more at home than being with nature; be it in the jungles or a mountain, a tropical beach in a remote area. I love mountain biking, kayaking, hiking or just swimming in the ocean. The energy that I feel while I'm alone in the natural world is my greatest passion in life. Has been My greatest inspiration for creating my work

Could you walk us through the process? Percentage wise, how much time do you spend preparing for the painting and how much time on the actual painting itself? Is preparation an important part of your process?

Well, first I paint all my canvases with black paint to mimic the Universe, to open the canvas to endless possibilities. I usually start painting around 9:00 or 10:00 at night, then I meditate to get connected to the energy so that it can flow through me and that I can begin to paint what I feel and how the spirits and the energy guides me to create my work in a semi-transient state. Sometimes it takes the night for a painting to be completed, or sometimes it also takes me anywhere from a couple of days to months. Once I'm finished and the painting feels right I will sit in front of the painting to give it a name. Usually, a name just comes to me organically almost as a whisper from some higher energy source or spirit. It is really magical!

Are you engaged in new artistic adventures? How is artistic exploration important to you as an artist and to your process? How do you then decide what to incorporate into your style and what you leave as pure fun?

I have not really thought of exploring any other avenues of work. I have entertained the notion of sculpting on occasion. I have other artist friends here in Bali that have mentioned to me that I should try sculpting as well, so I'm sure I will try to sculpt with the same process that I work with now to see the outcome.

Was there a particular moment where you could tell that your skills had just crossed over into being an exceptionally good painter instead of a pretty good painter? What did you do to make that leap?

Back in 2011, one day I just felt the need to paint and so I started it, but as I progressed while I could feel energy spirits somewhat guiding my hand to help me create, so my work kept advancing from that point and when I started meditating to strengthen my connection to the spirits and energy around me, my work progressed quite quickly into what it is today. So it's been a journey to be honest, not something which happened overnight.

How do you push yourself? Do you set goals for yourself? And if so, what are the goals? Do you think setting goals is important for an artist in his/her artistic journey? If so, why?

I don't push myself. I paint when I feel like it when the energy is right. I usually live in a remote area surrounded by nature and the wilderness. It is very quiet when I paint at night, I know the energy is strong. Setting goals is not something I believe in when It comes to art. You cannot push or rush this sort of a process. It has to come naturally without any hesitation.

How is your experience working with Aartzy? Do you think it is a useful platform for artists?

Aartzy is a wonderful platform for helping artists to expose their works. Without platforms like this present-day artists would have a very difficult time taking their work global. Aartzy has made it very easy for us and they are very helpful to artists like me around the world. I am grateful to be a part of The Aartzy community and they're wonderful creators!!!

Manesha Pieris (Aartzy)