Alixandra Martin’s art springs from many wells. It first seems to come from her soul—a literal “restless artist,” she is continually moving and growing, challenging herself to explore new mediums, imagery and methods.
There is the physical and external inspiration. Martin nurtures family, friends and spaces, and continually renews herself and others through her widely varied art and art projects. She has a hunger to know “otherness,” an elemental drive to study people and cultures.
There is also a practical need—she understands the commercial side of art. She runs her studio and gallery, redFISH, which she founded in 2002, and has sold her own commissioned and non-commissioned artwork for a living all of her adult life.
Martin was born and spent her childhood in Sarasota, Florida. Her mother’s encouragement to express herself led her to discover an early passion for drawing and painting. A nearby artist’s residential colony was a source of inspiration.
“I was around art at a very early age. I’d watch the artists—sculptors, potters, painters—make art for hours,” said Martin in 2017. She had her first drawing table by 12. “I’d go to the marina and sit drawing boats and people all day. I don’t remember not making art, not creating.”
When she was 17 her mother unexpectedly passed away; she moved to Buffalo, New York to live with relatives. There, while necessarily tapping into a youthful resilience, she realized that she had an opportunity, in this new place, to pursue art; to totally submerse herself in it. And that is what she did.
“I’ve spent most of my youth and adult life in communal art environments,” reflected Martin. “I’m intrigued by and have had the opportunity to collaborate with those working in many artistic facets, painters, sculptors, writers, photographers, designers. Over the years this has been a great influence and spurred much insight into finding my own voice as an artist.”
Martin’s first trip abroad was as an early teen; since then, she has traveled regularly, and with intention. With her husband and three children she has spent months at time in a variety of geographies and cultures, always painting and drawing wherever she is.
“In addition to the metropolitan areas, we try to find smaller towns,” says the artist. “I aim to ‘paint the life there’; meet the people, tap in to the history, the architecture, the food, the art—whether it’s early cave paintings, or visiting working artists in their studios.”
She has spent time recently with family in Sao Paolo, Brazil, exploring the Mata Atlântica rain forests and Rio de Janeiro. She finds particular inspiration in places throughout France, Portugal and Spain, spending time in Barcelona and Catalan region, Lisbon and stretching west.
With simple eloquence, Martin describes her experience of travel to those areas. “When I am around places that go back thousands of years, I feel humbled; humbled by the history and by the breathtaking beauty,” she said. “Where the mountains meet the sea, it’s this phenomenal landscape that rises up to you. The light is incredible; the people are so intensely open.”
Alixandra Martin has completed murals in Sao Paolo, Toronto, the Florida Keys, San Francisco, and Southwest France. Mural and fine art clients include private residential work, and public and commercial ventures, including Fisher-Price, medical centers, restaurants, libraries and schools.
She has shown around the world in solo and group shows; exhibitions include galleries in Toronto, Key West, Tribeca, and Southampton, NY and locally, the Burchfield Penney Art Center, Albright-Knox Collectors Gallery, Canisius College.
redFISH Gallery is now located in a former creamery in East Aurora, NY. Over the years, the ever-evolving space has morphed to function both as her studio, and as a creative incubator.
In 2007, she illustrated the award winning children’s book “The Scariest Dream Ever” and in 2017 will complete illustrating a children's book depicting the history of the Kenan Center, a former residential Victorian mansion in Lockport, NY (c. 1800s) which is now an arts, education and recreation non-profit.
A recent commission at the Hauptmann Woodward Institute finds Martin meeting with scientists and painting art based on the shape and structure of cells and proteins related to cancer and diabetes research.
Martin is comfortable in a multitude of genres and media—for large-scale pieces and murals, she uses mainly acrylic and spray paint; on canvas, she works in oil and charcoal.