For some, art constitutes a hobby. For Toni Martin, the pursuit of creativity and self-expression started as a passion and has flourished into a career where she exposes her soul and vulnerabilities to create connections. Completely self-taught, Martin now pulls from different mediums to bring personal, sometimes reactionary themes tinged with hope and joy to fruition. Her pathway here embodies that of the archetypical starving artist. As she sought to give visibility to her craft, she slept on friends’ couches and the floor of government housing before finding support from patrons who recognized her talent. Her drive and determination, plus her outstanding talent, have led to her current degree of success and recognition. 

Martin’s voice and vision know no single channel or format. Rather, her ideas come to life through sculpture, painting, and photography – all methods that she describes as a language of shape and form for expressing herself and developing an emotional connection with others.

Visually, these ideas materialize as fluid forms and intense pigments – both symbolizing and reflecting personal vulnerability. Shapes, color, and balance add structure to more abstract forms, while Martin intentionally deconstructs familiar ideas to expose her soul and take audiences on an emotional journey. Multiple angles come forth simultaneously and with intensity, including sensual, sexual, and emotional. Martin has previously compared this somewhat unstructured process to making music, with her fingers serving as the instruments and paint as the notes. The result isn’t just a dazzling display but a message intended to resonate with others. You see this with her ICON piece, a work over a year in the making. Embodied through an array of physical shapes, ICON reflects the challenges of living life with a different, more complex learning style. The work has since been donated to the Shelton school. 

More recently, she has been working on new ICON pieces, this time with three-dimensional construction, as well as a 12-foot welded steel butterfly sculpture.



The self -expression that comes from creating art is a powerful thing. Over the past 15 years I have experienced this on my own personal journey through art with almost no formal training. I have found that art allows me to express myself and at the same time save or help others around me. Naturally, I needed art like oxygen! Over the years in my pursuit I have slept on the couches of friends and the floors of government housing, sacrificing comfort and security in search of new discoveries in life and of self. I managed to overcome many things and create a career, a following and have developed relations with supportive patrons who believe in me and recognize my talent. For this I am thankful.

Being someone who is learning-different. It can be highly frustrating when I realize that my brain can sometimes struggle to convey to other people what it is I am thinking. Trapped in my mind, the only way I can communicate sometimes is through using colors, different mediums, shapes, forms, fluid movement and lines to depict or design something that captures my message, beliefs, heart, pain, joy, hope, confusion and abstract ways of thinking that dissect everyday life. I feel I am developing a sense of my own beautiful language through creativity in order to express myself and feel a connection that ultimately bridges a gap in human connection and captivates an audience. This allows me to articulate and feel free.

I am not one to confine Myself to one medium and love to explore art through sculpture, paint and photography—all of which have been pivotal in giving me a voice that words could not. I tend to create works of art by immersing myself in a state of flow. Using expressive gestures through fluid movement and precise pigment placement, sense for shape, color and balance to channel empathy, communicate my own emotional vulnerabilities that allow viewers to go on a visual journey. 
My artistic concepts develop from a combative sexual, sensual, philosophical, Out of the box way of thinking and emotional connection to a topic. My deconstruction of an idea usually consists of bouncing about my studio chaotically as I search for my concept’s identity. I leave all mental doors open until I find the puzzle piece that fits. In applying abstraction, I bring intense personal moments to life by tossing, turning, loving, denying or accepting involuntary wants and needs to persuade my medium as if it is a living entity bouncing off of my thought process.I enjoy creating different complexities within my work by manipulating the medium to its fullest extent. 




Artful Alchemy

Works by a collection of artists May 11 - June 22, 2024

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