Meet Joan Martin
What's your background?
I was born in Scotland, but have lived in South Africa from the age of seven. I call the tropical city of Durban on the east coast of South Africa home. I have always been involved in art since my mother entered me into a coloring-in competition at the age of four. I won the competition and was hooked. I studied Fine Arts after school and have been teaching art ever since at various state and private schools in Durban.
How does your experience as an art teacher influence you as an artist?
I teach a wide variety of techniques and disciplines from art history to traditional drawing to contemporary art making practices like installations. This encourages me to be more experimental in my own approach to making art.
How would you describe your style?
My style has an illustrative linear quality, but also usually includes expressive marks and textures.
You encourage artists to "embrace the random" – what do you mean by that, and how did you learn to do it?
When I was at university I found that when I used tools that made it difficult to control my drawing, the resulting artwork was more interesting and powerful. I have a tendency to overwork drawings and paintings and an approach that uses chance techniques helps me to avoid this issue.
You employ a lot of experimental techniques – have you ever had an experiment backfire on you?
I often mess up artwork. I have learnt to work over my mistakes. Too many people see art as a product instead of an experience. Experimentation and play are vital parts of learning. If you are not prepared to make mistakes you won’t learn.
What will people who sign up for Make Your Mark learn from the class?
To adopt a more playful, intuitive and brave approach to making art through a variety of experimental techniques using tools like pieces of cardboard, candles and textures found around the home.