Roman Martinez



I was born in Dallas and moved to Houston before 1st grade. I grew up in Alief in the 80’s. When we first moved into the area, it wasn’t as diverse as it is today, not even close. My interest in art started pretty early as a kid, drawing monsters and Star Wars characters, and I took a lot of lessons early on. All throughout my years in Alief I always had super engaging art teachers that took an interest in me and challenged me with different projects and showed me new techniques. It was in Middle school that the diversity really became relevant to me and how I started to perceive the world. Holub MS and Hastings HS were so diverse and it stretched all my preconceived notions and allowed me to emerge myself in different cultures. It also encouraged me to really explore who I was as a Chicano/Mexican-American. Those early years would later become influential as my development as an artist later in life. After a few offers to go to some larger art schools in Chicago and New York, I decided to enroll at the Art Institute of Houston and avoid the cold weather. After I graduated, I took a slight 7-year hiatus from painting to work as a youth pastor.

I began doing large-scale murals while living in El Paso and would take any job that would offer me a challenge and the opportunity to try new techniques. I began to specialize in trompe l’oeil and had a lot of early success. After a few large high-profile jobs, I got bogged down in a residential job that really drained my enjoyment of painting. I took a break from painting a second time and went back to work as a youth pastor, that ended in a 2-year stint in Chiapas, Mexico. Being there re-kindled my passion for my culture and has had a profound lasting influence on my art. When I returned to the U.S., I began painting murals again and have been painting again full time since 2010. My current iteration of style of painting has been in development for the last 6 or so years after being on a ladder 20+ feet up in the air and wondering what would happen if I took a misstep, so I decided I needed to pursue art that I was able to create with both feet on the ground.