Toni Martin's newest exhibit "Eye Spy" will be on display at Lorenzo Hotel starting October 24. (Photo by Jason Sanders)
"Eye Spy" by Toni Martin uses chromatherapy and allows viewers to be in the moment. (Photo by Jason Sanders)
The only color remaining in the completely white room of "Eye Spy" is a pair of silver wings. (Photo by Jason Sanders)
Toni Martin recently created "Home" for the historic Pittman Hotel in Deep Ellum.
Dallas-based artist Toni Martin has captured viewers’ attention with her award-winning paintings and mixed media pieces over the past few years. Creating everything from portraits to three-dimensional works, the Maryland-native is debuting her newest exhibit “Eye Spy” (which features chromatherapy — the use of light and color to alter mental states) at Lorenzo Hotel in The Cedars on October 24.
In anticipation of the opening, we caught up with Martin to learn about what inspired the exhibit, as well as her recent painting for the historic Pittman Hotel in Deep Ellum.
What inspired “Eye Spy?”
Toni Martin: So I really liked the game Eye Spy because it’s a mixture of random objects and pieces of life that people have probably encountered at one point or another. I picked items that were personal to me and that I connected with.
One of my main pictures is a piggy bank with wings. The only thing in “Eye Spy” that I kept a different color were those pig’s wings because they were silver. Above the pig, I put a fairy sparkling dust on him — playing off the concept of “when pigs fly.” I’m a firm believer that you can make your own pigs fly.
What do you want visitors to take away from the experience?
That room incorporates many things like that — little innuendos or symbolisms of things that are part of American culture. These things, when you look at them very closely, might resonate with you. Painting all the items white really plays into muting out the object’s original form, so you really have to focus on it.
Psychologically speaking, when your brain has to focus on a single object, it makes you really cognizant and in the moment. That was my point of mixing LED lights and transitional lighting — to create chromatherapy. So when people go in, I want them to feel like they’re in a dream state for a bit. And then, when they really start focusing on the individual items, it makes them more present in the moment.
What was your approach to your work in Deep Ellum’s Pittman Hotel, a thoughtful marrying of history and modern design.
Toni Martin: The hotel kept the giant ballroom upstairs that has been there forever. When you come up the stairs toward the ballroom, you’ll see my piece, “Home.” It’s very vibrant yellow with hues of blue. The blue is a coagulation of mixed organic shapes, symbolizing a straight line which means that I’m heading toward home.