Katy Martin

Artist's Statement

Artist's Statement: My process


I paint directly on my body and then I photograph myself using a tripod and shutter release. My art explores gesture in painting so I’ve had to account for my own physical presence within the act of making marks. That has pushed my painting into the realm of photography and performance.

In my current work, I begin by first making a large painting, on canvas or paper, to use as a backdrop for my paint-on-skin/performance/shoot. Then I stand in front of that painting and take my pictures while I paint on my skin. My poses are actually a form of composition since, even though I'm literally not behind the camera, in my mind’s eye, I’m seeing from its point of view. As I move, the shape of the paint on my skin changes and I can work with that in relation to what the lens sees.

It’s an illusion – I know – but I want the brush marks to continue past the edge of my body. That way, I can get past my own limitations. Maybe at its simplest, that’s what art does. It lets us imagine transcending who we are.


New York, February 2018