John Martin is using his pop surrealist art to tell a story—and Detroit is listening.
Graduation Year: 1985
Major: Graphic Communication (with a focus in Illustration)
Employer: Pop Art Mart, Powerhaus Design and Media
John Martin is the artist behind the online site www.popartmart.com. The site encompasses his illustration and multimedia work and includes a store where users can purchase prints, mugs, t-shirts, music, automotive graphics, and other unique products that feature his illustrative and pop surrealist art. He considers his style a blend of P. T. Barnum, Leonardo da Vinci and Dr. Frankenstein.
“I’m a creative problem solver,” said Martin. “I will use anything in combination form to create art—to express the subject mater or stories I want to tell. Versatility is one of my strengths…You might say I’m a jack of all trades and a master of some.
“At CCS, I took classes in iconography and mythology, which helped me in some of my more notable niches—mascot and toy design.”
After earning his degree and working for ten years as a designer with Art Staff, he saw a niche for his services and decided to go at it alone. Since then, Martin’s illustrations have been used by McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Big Boy, Ford, General Motors, Daimler Chrysler, Toyota, Orange County Choppers, Murray’s, Incognito Mascots and the Archdiocese of Detroit. He was also asked to create a comic, “Kitchen Table Commerce,” for Startupnation.com.
Through the media side of his business, Powerhaus Design and Media, the artist has created simple animations for the children's kiosks at the Farmington Hills Public Library, complex animations for TRW (an automotive safety company), NASCAR parody animations and more.
“As you can see, I like to stay diverse,” said Martin. “I don’t put all of my clients in one basket…The fun decorative cartoons and pop surreal paintings are most fun, but I enjoy aspects of every project. I’m always looking forward to the next one.”
- Graduation Year: 1985
- Major: Illustration
- Employer: John Martin Illustration & Design
- Title: Illustrator
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