it's not about designing what you like, but what you allow yourself to learn!

Dave Martinez



"Since beginning the early push of Existential Design (circa. 1990) to support the discipline of graphic design and art as integral collaborators, without barriers, I find it’s still an untapped quest, as life is. I was pleased when Rudy VanderLans asked me to publish my manifesto in EMIGRE (1998) when I wrote a letter to such a vital publication and welcomed further communication regarding my thoughts on design at a time the design community was recovering from "The First Things First" (2000) manifesto which created considerable criticism."


As a practicing designer before the introduction of desktop publishing, I explored ways in which technology and handcraft collaborated in my creative process. During the early nineties, my graphic design was based on a philosophy that content and aesthetics could become personal and expressive. I called this exploration “Exist In Design”.


As an admirer of the Hungarian artist and photographer Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, I’ve always challenged myself to discover new ways of seeing based on experimentation. His book “Experiment into Totality” was extremely influential in my development as an artist and designer. Moholy experimented with everything and I became deeply involved with photography. It was around this same time I began linking myself to my work based on handcrafted forms as a means to linking my existence to my work. Currently, while I continue to practice client-centered design, I’m excited about digital media, especially video/animation and my philosophy to design continues to supplement my creative work.


These ideas lead me to create a body of work I call Intagliographs. I began a series of images by etching symbols and narratives into film. Sometimes the etchings were completed before filming took place. I created a juxtaposition of etched marks with film narratives afterwards that invited an element of chance. In other photographs, prepared etchings allowed me to say more than I could express with photography alone.


Travel and research informs much of my graphic design and image making. While traveling to Havana, Cuba I cut and recreated 35mm negatives sometimes randomly sometimes by design in two processes of photography I call Photoweaves and Photomosaics. The separation and recreation of the negative relies on light, color and form with juxtapositions created without the computer which lacked the humanity of natural forms. Each manipulation created a different series of prints much like printmaking.


Now, being fully engaged in academia; teaching, research, and client based work completes much of my work yet I continue exploring the principles of my initial points towards design/art.


Please visit my portfolio.



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