Marta Sanchez grew up in San Antonio, Texas in the 1960’s. Her grandmother risked it all to come to the United States, with her daughter hidden under her skirt on a train. Marta brings diverse art and culture not only to SJU but to the walls of many art museums and galleries around the United States. Her ultimate love for sharing her family’s story and to preserve a piece of history gravitated Marta to art. In a time where art wasn’t always celebrated, her father and grandmother both understood Marta’s love and encouraged her to pursue her passion in this medium.
Much like Roald Dahl’s book character Matilda, she found her love of art by absorbing literature of the art books and comics the shelves of the San Antonio Public Library had to offer. Today, Marta’s primary medium that she enjoys is narrative painting through works on mental and paper.
She doesn’t refer to art as her calling, she just had the need to do it. She didn’t care about the title “artist”, as it was her therapeutic outlet.
Family was, and is, everything to Marta. She started to draw things that she wanted to put into her own history archive. She drew the trains across from her house where she grew up, she drew her grandmother’s bedroom, and she eventually drew many things from her childhood home from memory, so she wouldn’t forget. Marta sees art as a history bookmark. It captures something, so you won’t ever forget it.
Marta makes art about her family and childhood because there’s a certain “Fear of forgetting something that is priceless.”
She believes drawing and painting tell the untold stories of history. One piece of history Marta wants to shed light on is that many people don’t realize that Mexcican- Americans also took a large part in building the US railways. She also wants to give exposure to the Mexican – American culture, and they’re history in this country.
Along with her art, Marta also co-founded an organization called “Cascarones Por La Vida”. This foundation assists families affected by HIV/AIDS. This topic hits close to home for Marta as she has had family and friends affected by it. Just like her art, She strives to break stereotypes. When I asked her the question “What inspires you to create?” she responded with “The humanity of it all,…the sadness and joy”.
At SJU, diversity is sadly not abundant. We currently have a percentage of 80% caucasian students. When I questioned Marta about this and asked her how she gives students a diverse outlook: she said that
“By getting to know me, I hope that they understand my sensibility and the sensibility of other cultures, and so that its not exotic – its common.”
One last piece of advice Marta wants to give someone who wants to create art is “I’ve heard this similar piece of advice from many artists, but one of my favorite Sci-Fi writers, Ray Bradberry basically said that you should paint, draw, and write what you know and continue to discover and spend time looking around, draw and paint things that interest you. Sometimes you don’t know what you have to say. As you’re living you’re so busy trying to live- everything today is so fast. You can’t plan ahead for life, and you can’t plan ahead for what you are experiencing. Be attuned to what your gravitated by and be as truthful about it as you record it and then maybe it will truthfully talk back to you and will tell you what your trying to say.”
Curious of what Marta is working on next? Well, fret no more. Marta is currently working on a profile of her grandmother. She wants her grandmother’s memory to live on within her family members. The most effective way she sees to do so is through art. This project includes family photos, written letters from family members about memories of her grandmother and much more.
Want to admire Martas wonderful artwork? Her drawings and paintings are on display at a number of locations. This includes ;The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, The McNay Art Museum, The Fine Art Museum of St. Petersburg, Florida, and The National Museum of Mexican Art in Chicago.