Martin Williams

Pool Side. 42 x 96 inches, 2016.


“… the electric passion with which [Martin] attacks ideas, figures, and forms breathes unmistakable energy into each life-size canvas he produces… it is honest representation of humanity and physical life in its most instinctive state that drive his work; it inspires a simultaneously delicate and intense equilibrium of drama and raw realism.”

- Safiya Hopfe
from her article in Beatroute Magazine December 2014




Martin working on Super Marios, diptych. Total dimensions 68 x 96 inches. 2016.


Pro Pelle Cutem, The Skin for the Sake of the Fleece (2015) 

This portrait references the Hudson Bay charter motto, which refers to the collecting of beaver pelts worn for a season by natives around Hudson Bay in what is now Canada. Their body oils cured the robe, or 'castor grass'. Like painting and personality, we reflect our histories; we purchase the canvas and paint 'for the sake of' the image. 

History, intimacy and transformation are exemplified in my painting Pro Pelle Cutum, which embodies early Canadian portraiture, both indigenous and western. Its subject, Brianne Tweddle is a modern primitive, presented here in historical apparel and proudly wearing the beaver robe. The painting references the Hudson Bay’s charter motto, ‘the skin for the sake of the pelt’; the piece becomes an allegory for painting itself. The original castor grass or greasy pelt was a prized commodity of trade. The pelt was cured in the body oils of the native peoples who wore the robe for a season. The superior beaver pelt provided both felt as well as cured supple leather. The essential essence that made this possible is hidden and exists only in quality.



Artist's Statement

The focus of my life as an artist is to produce significant work in this time and project them three to five hundred years into the future. To achieve this I combine technical skill with inspiration. I have a keen awareness of the history of western figurative art and the reality of social realism. With influences from Lascaux through Caravaggio to Dorothea Lange, my subjects are grounded in humanity and nature.

The art I saw growing up were historical examples from western art history - often in black and white. These were the standards that I saw for making art and I accepted that. Naivety is both charming and brutal.

I love making art; its challenges and discoveries bring meaning into my life and connect me with others and myself; I am thankful for the opportunity to work: growing and nurturing my art.

My studio is in the West End of Vancouver, Canada; surrounded by ocean on three sides and with the forest at arms reach. There are people all around me; there is noise as well as quiet, private spaces too.

I work full-time and make art full-time: eight days a week. That's the value I place on art and my life as an artist. Talent is a gift, but it's also 99% hard work.

For over thirty years I have maintained studios in North America and Europe; exhibited my original work consistently; and taught art and anatomy. 

I am versatile and innovative in drawing, painting and sculpture.

As a figurative artist I balance a studio and exhibition career with my massage therapy practice and teaching. 

I work steadily towards achieving excellence in life and art.





Contact    |    604 619 9730



Select Curriculum Vitae

born Jan. 19, 1962, Colwyn Bay, North Wales. UK
emigrated to Canada in 1967
citizenship: 1974

2012-14 Studio West-End Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Select Exhibition

2014 Solo The Fall Gallery Vancouver, BC
2014 Solo Aion Gallery Vancouver, BC
2012 Solo The Fall Gallery Vancouver, BC
2008 Solo Community Arts Council CACWRD White Rock, BC
2006 Solo CACWRD White Rock, BC
1999 Solo White Rock Library White Rock, BC
1998 Solo Keith Alexander Gallery Vancouver, BC
1998 Group Buschlen Mowatt Fine Art Ltd. Vancouver, BC
1997 Group Art THROB juried, MAINSPACE Vancouver, BC
1997 Group Faculty Exhibition BASIC INQUIRY Vancouver, BC
1994 Group MacDonald Stewart; Juried UofG Guelph, Ont.
1991 Group K W Art Gallery, Juried Kitchener, Ont.
1990 Group Canadian Clay and Glass Gallery Waterloo, Ont.

Select International Studio/Research

2008-09 Marbella, Spain
1995-96 Louisville, Kentucky, USA
1994-95 Louisiana, USA
1991 North Wales, UK

Select Commissions/Awards

2012 Commission: 'Rude Boys'. In the collection of Mr. and Mrs. J Collins
1994 First Selection by jurors: Pierre Landry and Jose Lebrero Stals
1994 People’s Choice Award, MacDonald Stewart Art Centre, UofG
1992 Ontario Arts Council Grant
1988-92 Royal Ontario Museum, Far Eastern Department, porcelain

Select Teaching/Lecture/Workshop

2016-17 Instructor in the Registered Massage Therapy program at Langara College Vancouver, BC
1997-98 Figure Drawing Instructor, BASIC INQUIRY Vancouver, BC
1992 Art History Instructor, Humber College Toronto, Ontario
1992 Porcelain Workshop, London Potter’s Guild London, Ontario
1990-91 3-D Design Instructor, Humber College Toronto, Ontario


2003 Graduate, WCCMT: Registered Massage Therapy
1990-96 Undergraduate Fine Art courses: studio, art history and English