From Cecile Oreste at danceDC
DC native and Borderstan resident Martha Blalock had not painted in years. But, an exhibit invitation from go mama go! owner Jonathan Chudnoff inspired the Borderstan resident and designer to start again. Her works are currently on display at the 14th Street store along with those of Robert Weiner and Ted Putanen.
Although Blalock took a break from painting, she never stopped being creative. Her experience in the arts includes industrial design, illustrating children’s books and working with wood, including furniture.
Bold, Colorful Style in Acrylic
However, painting is Blalock’s primary medium. Working mostly in acrylic, Blalock conveys a unique visual quality through bold, colorful expression. Ideas for her work are developed on their own. When something triggers or stays in her mind she jots it down on her hand or paper… whatever is available at that moment as the information or the memory will change.
How does Blalock describe her paintings?
“It’s hard for me to describe my work. I would rather have people just look at it and decide for themselves. Everyone interprets things differently.”
She did, however, share that many of her paintings are a form of self reflection serving as a visual journal. The work is inspired by daily influences from people she meets and things she observes. They often display Blalock’s feelings at that time or tend to tell a story about a situation in her life. As a result, she said that she feels very “exposed” when exhibiting her work.
Blalock’s training and experience include a strong emphasis on industrial design. She received a Bachelor of Fine Arts in design from Corcoran College of Art & Design and then a Master’s degree in product design in Milan. While studying in Italy, she came up with a unique concept of lighting. Working from images of antique light fixtures, she streamlined the look of a three-dimensional light into a two-dimensional outline form.
In addition to her industrial design work, Blalock has written and illustrated various children books, created frames and other woodwork projects, and built furniture. She even began working with a friend on a miniature golf course, using astro turf and paper maché windmills.
In her job as art director in the design and illustration section of Medical Arts at the National Institutes of Health, she and her team develop illustrations to depict medical issues that cannot be captured by photographs. Blalock said there is always a new topic to generate challenging solutions at NIH, which makes her work a “surprisingly creative outlet.”
To view Blalock’s art, visit go mama go! at 1809 14th Street NW, between S and T Streets.