What’s your full name?
Martin Edwin Baptist.
Where you from? How old are you?
Born 03/07/1975. I grew up in Queensland, Australia, between a place called Maroochydore on the sunshine coast on weekends and Brisbane during the week. My nana and uncle both lived in Sydney so I would come down for holidays as a child. I moved to Sydney in 1998 for art and skateboarding mostly.
When did you consider yourself an artist? Was it through skateboarding or before?
I guess it all over lapped. Like when you start drawing on grip tape with paint pens, walking into skateboard shops and getting blown away by the graphics was inspiring. I know it sounds cliché but I do think it (art) chooses you; you don’t just wake up one day and decide I want to be an artist.
As a kid, I always liked figuring out how stuff worked, pulling stuff apart and putting it back together, problem solving, which applies also to making art. My mother was very interested in the arts and painted a bit, so I grew up getting taken to the museums and galleries, which might of got me interested, but at the end of the day its either in you or its not.
I did do oil painting classes at age 14 or something like that, it was cool drinking tea, eating biscuits and painting but by then skateboarding had already taken total control over my life and I’d rather be skating, so I quit.
Years later I broke my ankle really bad in a few places and I couldn’t skateboard for a long time. I was in and out of hospital with all these operations. That’s when the window of Art making really opened, it was around then I started doing a few skateboard graphics and I was painting a lot. I studied art for two years at Morningside College of Art, just to get all the nuts and bolts. My ankle never healed properly, so I put most of my energy into painting.
How did skateboarding begin for you?
I saw that movie Back to the Future with Michael J Fox in it skating, within weeks it seemed every kid in my neighborhood had a skateboard – so I’d borrowed theirs.
Then a couple of years later it was blocking off streets in the suburbs, building jump ramps and skating the streets and schools. All around Australia at that time you had all these gnarly old concrete bowls, rough as guts and kinked to hell, the older guys ripped em to bits.
I had a second hand vision jinx mini first. Then I got a new Blue Tommy Guerrero dagger board for Christmas 1987 the one with Bonite through the ply layers. I was hyped.
Who was your crew?
Many crews through different times, it was forever changing. For me skateboarding in the mid 90’s was a golden era; Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sydney sort of merged for a bit. There was a school called Kedron High and everyone would meet there for a bit or we would skate the city or travel interstate.
Mainly Kicking it with Shaun Caulfield, Gibbo, Manch, Bundy, Wade Burkett, Mike O’Meally, Westy, Andrew Currie, Rick, Moondog, Dion Kovac, Adrian Powell, and Al Boglio those times stand out most to me.
Who were some of your early influences in both skateboarding and art?
Skateboarding friends and mostly the early street skating stuff in the videos – Future Primitive, Natas in Streets of Fire and of course, Video Days.
Art influences would be, Ian Fairweather, Brett Whiteley, Raymond Pettibon, Chris Johanson, Bob Dylan just to name a few.
What would you consider one of your favorite pieces?
Henri Matisse’s Vence chapel wall paintings
When did you meet Gonz?
In New Zealand, Lee Ralph and I had an Art show and Mark showed up bearing gifts. (Bottle of vodka in a brown paper bag drawn on)
What was it like knowing you were doing a guest deck for Krooked?
Pretty stoked to be honest,it’s like if you were in band and you just got the cover of rolling stone magazine. I’ve always liked the stuff Mark has done.
Did that affect your normal process in any way?
Not really, I normally attack a canvas without much planing and try to let things just flow.Given the deck shape makes things a bit harder,trying to stay within boundaries, so I painted a larger canvas and cropped it in.I wanted the board to look like a painting.
Any funny stories there?
Lots of Bob Dylan talk. Highest Ollie comps on the lounge room carpet while listening to the Fine Young Cannibals. Painting on large canvases in the garage.
What are you currently working on?
Mainly another solo show for later this year, moving studios, some artwork for two charity auctions, and a little project called Japan National with my girlfriend.