Around the Island

Artist in Residence: Ana Martinez finds deep beauty in Island life

Throughout her career, or indeed the series of careers Ana Martinez has pursued, she’s kept an almost mystical sense of connection to nature, especially trees.

Her current occupation as an artist who recently settled on the Island is a reflection of many experiences she’s encountered and learned from along the way.

Working in her home studio, Ms. Martinez produces dramatic, colorful interpretations of trees that cause the viewer to stop and look at shapes, colors and forms that are often missed when encountering the ubiquitous structures in our Island landscape.

Cross-sections of trees draw the viewer’s eye into the heart of the tree and suggest an opening into a deeper world beyond.

She points to the initials of her full name, Ana Martinez Orizondo, which, coincidentally or not, spell AMO, Spanish for “I love.” She incorporates that message into her work, hoping it’s not only satisfying her need for expression, but bringing to the viewer a picture to be loved.

“Like a tree in the forest,” she says on her website (anamartinezorizondo.com), “you were born to be a unique, individual expression and a member of a collective at the same time — creating something larger and more meaningful than the sum of its parts.”

The pastel ‘Tree Stories: Damaged Heart.’ (Credit: Lorin Klaris)

The artist has described a mystical experience she had with a tree outside the window of her home in Elmhurst, Queens as a 12-year-old as the root of her deep connection with trees. Although such a personal experience can be difficult to put into words, she’s used her artistic talent to express her innermost emotions.

Her professional experiences have been varied and rewarding, eventually setting her on the path she follows today. As a television producer, she worked on the “Cristina” show — she describes it as the Latina Oprah Winfrey — for which she won an Emmy award. She became disenchanted with television over time, however: “I think it was ‘Beavis and Butthead’ that made me look around and say, ‘Is this what I really want to be doing?’”

Ms. Martinez also worked in institutional advancement, incorporating her marketing skills with fundraising for a university.

Today, she finds herself in a place that’s continually inspiring her artistic pursuits while offering her a chance to live surrounded by the natural beauty she loves. “We are so fortunate to have Mashomack to explore and enjoy,” she said.

Even hunkered down during a heavy snowfall recently, she declared she found it “mesmerizing” and comforting in its quiet beauty.

Among those writers and artists who have inspired her approach to nature and art, Ms. Martinez cites “deep ecologists like Arne Naess, Gary Snyder, John Muir, who have tuned into this energy for years, and many others, like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Henry Thoreau, Rachel Carson, Walt Whitman who came before the term even existed.

“Reflective of Native American religious beliefs, it is a state of being where one becomes the voice of the land, in alignment with ‘land wisdom.’”