We had the good fortune of connecting with Martryce Roach and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Martryce, how do you think about risk?
As I age through my adulthood, I’ve found myself becoming so regimented. I have come to value structure because it’s predictable. You do A, you get B. Not taking many risks is certainly worry free, but how boring is that?
I had a dream recently that my friend and I were out climbing a huge mountain. It was so high that when we got to the top, we were close enough to reach out and touch the clouds. I wanted to touch one so badly, but I was afraid. My friend got right up on the tip of the highest point of the mountain, reached up, and he put his hand right through a moving cloud. I just stood still and watched. Then, I woke up. That dream changed me.
Today, I am cracking open into a brand new feel with art. I am taking more risks, experimenting with color, texture, geometry, perspective, and placement to make my pages explode with expression. I am not creating to sell or fulfill obligations. I am creating for the pure exhilaration of it. I am learning more about art history and drawing more inspiration from the iconic creators of the past. I am diving into knowledge about different mediums and ways to present my ideas. Art has become a whole language for me and I am speaking.
I am honored that these creative risks lead to my selection as Curator’s Choice 2021 for Pro Arts in Jersey City, NJ. This fall, I will be displaying work at The Other Art Fair Chicago and The Yard: Eastern Market in Washington DC. In 2020 I was blessed to present over twenty pieces in a solo exhibition, entitled, “Transcendence”, at the Bridge Art Gallery in Bayonne, NJ. I have also had the fortunate of displaying with Freehold Art Gallery, Above Art Studios, Moody Jones Gallery, Akwaaba Gallery, BSB Gallery, West Orange Arts Council, and Art in the Atrium. This has been an electrifying journey.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
With pastel, I create vibrant landscapes layered with geometric shapes, architecture, and figures. It’s like visual jazz! Some work invites minds to different perspectives, allowing for complex conversations. Some work is just wildly exhilarating, providing a fun visual escape. In some work, I experiment with images to deliver messages about challenges impacting communities and to spread awareness about social issues. It really brings me great joy to just make my pages dance with ideas.
Recently, I have become deeply inspired by how elements of our environments shape us. My new work explores the intersection between physical space and human behavior. To me, life is filled with twists, blocks, turns and waves. How we swerve through those changes tells a powerful story and makes for a magical visual. I am currently creating some interesting, large scale, twisted visual art stories to reflect life in different environments.
I’m grateful that I continue to have opportunities to share these art stories. Being a professional artist and staying relevant is not easy. I think it has been crucial that I’ve stayed humble and willing to learn and that I have been willing to sacrifice and make choices that benefit the longevity of my career. It is so important to carefully consider the opportunities that come along. We have to have the insight to recognize good offers and distractions. Professionals have to have clear direction.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
New Jersey is bursting with creative talent, great food, lively people, and scenic escapes. I would definitely recommend starting your Jersey experience with some house music! Jersey has tons of great spinners: DJ Cool Curt, Born Again Vinyl, DJ JSmoov, DJ Run The Fade – too many to name! Then, you have to get some pizza from Federici’s in Freehold. I promise it’s the best pizza you’ve ever had. For dessert, treat yourself to some sweet potato cheesecake at Delta’s in New Brunswick. If you’re vegan, no problem! Try How Delish in West Orange, NJ. We’ve got beaches. We’ve got boardwalks. We’ve got parks with views of the water and the New York skyline. Pick your fancy!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Though there is a presence of women in art and more opportunities are arising for African Americans in art, history reflects disproportionate representation and appreciation of our ideas and our stories in this field. So, when someone pushes my art forward and creates space for my stories to be seen and valued, I must speak about it.
Lavett Ballard is an artist, art historian, curator, author, and a true mentor. While creating brilliant visual images that reflect social issues affecting the narratives of Black women throughout American history, exhibiting all over the country, and being featured on the cover of TIME Magazine, Lavett still made time for me. She has educated me, encouraged me, shared with me, and elevated me.
I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to Lavett Ballard. Cheers to sisterhood!
Other: Events and Exhibitions: www.linktr.ee/martrycetheartist