”Elegance is learned, my friend”: Inspired by the the Real Housewives. I chose this theme because it is funny and ridiculous as is my work.
I am a Philadelphia-based artist working in both the commercial and fine art fields. Drawing, painting, using words, while being absurd and funny and having a penchant for painting food is what I do.
My commercial work has been used in music videos, on socks and bags in advertising, magazines, book covers and more and I have shown my paintings in galleries across the country and internationally.
An Interview with Martha Rich:
What inspired you to become an artist?
Divorce, pantyhose, and the corporate American cubicle.
You work in both color and black and white, which would you consider yourself to be most passionate about?
I don’t feel passion about one or the other. It’s just color. Color is cool.
What inspires you to make so many images so passionately?
I make images because it makes me calm and happy. Passion is exhausting.
What is your advice to younger artists?
Don’t take yourself too seriously and work hard. Be kind.
Are there any artists that inspire you in particular?
Outsider artists who make art because they have to, and not because they want to im-press anyone inspire me the most.
What are you interested in investigating through your work?
I am not intentionally investigating anything, but it ends up being about me. Art is narcissistic.
How does a city like Philadelphia, where you live, inspire you?
You can’t help but be inspired by where you live. Right now Philly is cold and dirty and gray. As you can see I don’t paint in grays. I do the opposite. I spent a lot of time in corporate cubicle jobs before I became an artist so now I don’t like anyone telling me what to do. I like to do the opposite. I enjoy rebelling against what I am supposed to do.
What would you consider to be your aesthetic, and how does it show itself in your work?
I have no idea. Getting my MFA ruined me, so now I rebel against de-fining my work and instead I focus on making it and let others figure out what it is about. I am lazy and listened to too much art-speak in graduate school. Art-speak bores me and I’ve got better things to do, like actually making art. Some people love art-speak. More power to them, but I have no time for it.
Do you illustrate private moments in your work. If so, what draws you to these moments?
I don’t illustrate private moments. They are public moments.
How do you integrate your art and design approaches? Or are they separate in your experiences of them?
They are one and the same.
What does it feel like when you are shooting images / working?
It feels very very good.
Describe your relationship with your work.
We are dating.
When did you begin create artwork and why?
I began as a kid. I wrote and illustrated my own magazine in 1976 called “Ye Olde Continental Times.” It was a humor magazine along the lines of Mad and Cracked. I can’t remember why, probably because of the Bicentennial fervor at the time and the fact that I lived near Valley Forge Park where George Washing-ton camped in the winter. It was a very colonial area.
Are you working on anything right now that feels like new ground in your body of work?
I finished painting my first mural on Friday. I want to do more. Lately the projects I have done have been out in the open, so people could come and talk to me. I like that. Watching people react and interact. I dig that a lot.
How would you describe your voice as an artist?
What do you seek to express, capture, or reveal in your work?
I seek to ex-press, capture, and reveal the absurdity of it all.