Étienne Martin is a Montreal-based visual artist known for his vibrant and eclectic creations. Through the use of bright colours and collage techniques, Étienne’s works are like a burst of energy that captivates the viewer. In collaboration with artist Julien Fortin, he created the mural adorning the iconic Patati-Patata restaurant in the Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood.
Born in 1977 and raised in Sainte-Adèle, Étienne Martin is a self-taught artist inspired by Picasso, Soutine, Modigliani, Basquiat and Van Gogh. However, his art goes beyond emulation as he constantly experiments and pushes his boundaries. Étienne is an artist and an explorer, deeply connected to his Quebec heritage.
Étienne Martin’s iconic paintings often depict the architecture of Montreal, framed by a stained glass effect created by a set of multicoloured rectangles. This unique technique reflects the city’s religious history and urban growth while revealing the symbiotic relationship between Martin’s work and Montreal.
Early in his career, in 2000, he worked with squares and developed his technique called “coulis et carreaux” (grout and tiles). His ability to transform ordinary objects into works of art sets him apart now. He has not hesitated to embrace unconventional canvases from storefronts to old vinyl records. He explains that he works on anything that comes his way.
In a beautiful collaboration with his son Esteban, Etienne Martin explores the creative potential of old vinyl sleeves. His son’s doodles are a source of inspiration that allows Etienne Martin to create art that breaks free from figuration and convention, reminiscent of Jean-Michel Basquiat’s style. Together, they breathe new life into these kitschy vinyl sleeves, blending elements of Pop Art with primitive art and mixing eras and references to create a hybrid and dynamic pop culture. The artworks are presented in frames, with the original records inside, adding charm to the creations.
Etienne Martin’s art embodies the celebration of colour, playful distortions and the fluidity of ideas in contemporary Montreal. He continues to evolve as an artist, pushing the boundaries of his practice.