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Identity, Existence, and Change: Art by B.A. Martel

A painting of a brightly dressed skeletonWarm and Fuzzy, acrylic on wood

B.A. Martel is an artist currently based on Canada’s West Coast. Martel spent much of their childhood in South America and Africa, and has travelled extensively as an adult. The artist’s work showcases a wide range of aesthetic and cultural influences while dealing with themes of identity, existence, and change.

A painting of a skull in front of a bright landscapeCold Winter's Day, acrylic on wood


Martel’s latest series, Hodi Mihi Cras Tibi -- Today Me, Tomorrow You, deals with death and dying, and the psychological aspects of contemplating one’s own mortality. The paintings in this series are colourful and have an almost playful edge to them -- skeletons, skulls, and other macabre subjects are tempered with bright colours and bright symbolism.

A screen capture of B.A. Martel's art portfolio


In the gallery, Martel showcases some of their sketches for this series, and even these works carry a certain playful, explorative edge. One gets the sense that the artist spent time thinking about their own mortality while building this series encouraging others to do the same. The idea fosters a great sense of connection between artist and audience.

A study sketch of a few skulls2019 study sketch -- Skulls 4, pencil on paper

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. They hold a degree in Critical and Cultural Practices from Emily Carr University of Art and Design, as well as a certificate in Technical Writing from BCIT. Dallas has a passion for speaking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In their studio practice they are an illustrator and budding tattoo artist, but they consider themselves a writer foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises or their art on Instagram.

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