Zhanna Martin – Characters in clay, figurative sculpture
I’ve been drawn to art ever since I can remember. I grew up in Russia, in a small town in the province of Siberia. As a child on those long Siberian nights, I would hideaway in a tent made out of blankets to draw or make figurines. When I grew up, I chose architecture as my career path, but I was always involved in some kind of art project for my own enjoyment….whether it was a painting, collage, doll, photography, digital art, knitting, sewing. I loved it all.
During the “great recession” of 2009, my architectural firm laid off almost 50% of its workforce; and I was part of that 50%. But what initially seemed like hard luck wound up being the Universe intervening for me. With my new free time I took an art class in Clay….and I was HOOKED!! From the first time my hands touched clay, I found myself making faces. It was as if the clay was speaking to me, and my hands speaking back to the clay. I had always been fascinated with people’s faces and expressions, and the ability to express my observations in the medium of clay was mind-blowing.
And that is where I am today, deep in my passion and focused on portraying people’s emotions and expressions in clay. To me, emotions are what makes us human….and facial expressions are the voice of those emotions. My work is not deeply philosophical or complicated. Nor is it meant to be a deeply political or religious statement. I’m just a girl from a small town in Russia, using clay to express my observations on the basic humanism that surrounds me…surrounds us all. Hopefully you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed making them!