"This print was inspired by a recent painting from a show called “Des- Colores” at 1AM gallery in October 2019. The concept of the show was to repaint some of my favorite paintings but taking all the color out of them. This was meant to reference the tragedy of coral bleaching due to Climate change and the warming of the oceans. The whole show was about the loss of climate and how we experience it while in the midst of that loss.
"Little did I know at the time, we were about to enter into a prolonged state of loss. As the Covid Pandemic became a worldwide reality a year ago, most of us experienced a great deal of loss. Not only loss of life, for those who succumbed to the virus, but also loss of contact with our families and communities. Most of us experienced a loss of livelihood and security. As the pandemic wore on, we experienced the loss of humanity exemplified by a police officer killing a man by kneeling on his neck for nearly 10 minutes.
"The feeling of solidarity in the first few weeks of the pandemic were soon replaced by the feeling that maybe we are not all in the same boat, and we are not all affected equally.
"It’s often felt in this tumultuous year, that we have forgotten how to love and value each other. At the same time, many people, myself included, have been reminded of the importance of family and friends.
"The feeling of loss has been constant throughout the pandemic for me and for many people I know. With this loss, however, we have also experienced unexpected blessings. For me, the loss of community, work, space and time, has been paired with a new closeness to my family, a renewed appreciation for work and the importance of art.
"'Flores de Luto,' or Mourning Flowers, is meant as a reminder of this last year of great loss for many. It is not meant as a dwelling place for sadness, but rather as a reminder of this terrible year, and hopefully, a reminder that within great sadness there can be great beauty in appreciating the small blessings we all have.
"The small variant editions in this set are titled 'Tristeza' and 'Belleza', or “Sadness” and “Beauty”. A reminder that Sadness is often paired with great Beauty. The beauty, perhaps, of the memory of that which has been lost.
"Thank you for supporting this work. Blessings to you and yours."
Oakland-based artist Jet Martinez (born 1973) is known for creating vibrant works of art that put a contemporary spin on folk art motifs. Originally from the small beach town of Tuxpan, Veracruz, Mexico, Martinez takes inspiration from his native culture’s rich traditions of pottery, weaving and embroidery. His latest murals enliven the rigid architecture of cityscapes with ornate patterns and entrancing, abstract visuals.
An influential figure in Bay Area public art, Martinez served as the director of San Francisco’s acclaimed Clarion Alley Mural Project (CAMP) for 10 years from 2004 to 2014. His work with CAMP has been integral to the creation and preservation of public art in the Mission District, a historically Latino neighborhood known as a bastion for underground arts and culture.
Rhythmic, floral patterns unify Martinez’s various series of paintings from over the past 10 years. He predominantly works with acrylic paint and enamel on panel, rendering organic shapes that push the boundaries of form and color. Much like the craftspeople who create the ceramics and textiles that inspire him, Martinez prioritizes technical skill and embraces the imperfections of the handmade.
Martinez has exhibited in reputable galleries and art institutions nationwide, including Joseph Gross Gallery, 111 Minna Gallery, White Walls Gallery, Museo de Arte y Cultura Latino Americana, Syracuse University and many others. He has painted murals in locales as diverse and Oaxaca and Zurich and created commissions for companies like Facebook, Hilton, Kiehl’s, John Fluevog and Redbull. Currently, he shares his Oakland studio with wife and fellow artist Kelly Ording and is focused on his muralism and studio practice full time.