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When Christa Martinez ’13 (Houston, Texas) took a break from art, art found its way back to her.

Self portrait of Christa Martinez ’13

Self portrait of Christa Martinez ’13

Martinez’s interest in art began in childhood, when she focused on teaching herself to draw well.

“Art became the way I could speak,” she says. Her artistic talents led her to enroll in a high school for performing and visual arts.

But at Lafayette, she didn’t take a single art class her first year. Not having art in her life left a hole.

“When art got away, it found its way back,” she says. “I have been a lot happier since.”

Martinez recently received recognition for her art in the form of a scholarship from The Joy of Giving Something Inc., a nonprofit dedicated to the photographic arts. The scholarship was awarded through Imaging America, a consortium of universities and organizations dedicated to advancing the public and civic purposes of humanities, arts, and design. Student winners were selected based on their artistic merit, financial need, contribution through their art to the community, and maintenance of at least a 3.0 GPA at their institution of higher learning.

wire sculpture called "Teddy" shaped like a teddy bear


Once Martinez  began taking art classes at Lafayette, Curlee Holton, Roth Professor of Art and director of the Experimental Printmaking Institute, became her mentor. It was Holton who encouraged her to apply for the scholarship.

The images that Martinez submitted for the scholarship depict a teddy bear and rabbit crafted out of wire, engaged in criminal activity.

“The style of my art is at this point mostly irony and trying to show how everyday actions are kind of ridiculous,” she says. “In the work I submitted the objects are friendly and innocent but placed into a context where there is some violence. This could be good or bad. I was trying to find a middle ground to understand whether or not actions like these can be really good or bad. In fact, things are usually just more complicated. Ultimately, I try to make the audience smile when seeing my work.”

photo of wire sculptures "Teddy" and "Buns" stealing money

Teddy and Buns in Action

Martinez, an engineering studies major, says she has a passion for drawing, and she also likes to do sculpture and installation work.

“Sculpture and installation work are the reason I am in engineering,” she says. “I am in engineering for my art. I need to be able to understand how and what can and can’t work. I also believe that if you want something enough you will make time for it. I have done my best to make time for my art and understanding it through engineering.”

After Lafayette, Martinez would like to attend graduate school. She is considering becoming a toy designer while continuing to do her own art.

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