Artist Patrick Martinez on “Less Drake, More Tupac,” Police Brutality, and the New American Dream

“Rise” by Patrick Martinez for We Buy Gold in NYC.

This is America: police brutality and pop culture. Immigration and the NFL. Gentrification and…Drake. These are all themes explored by artist Patrick Martinez, who was born and raised in Los Angeles to a Native American and Mexican father and a Filipino mother, and uses neon, ceramic, and mixed media installations to unpack the idea of the American Dream. On the Internet, he is mostly known for his neon installation , which Drake actually bought and currently displays in his home. I talked to Martinez as he wrapped up his first solo show at L.A.’s Vincent Price Museum and prepared for the next edition of neon installations on sale at We Buy Gold, Joeonna Bellorado-Samuels’s roving art gallery, now open at 179 East Broadway in New York City.

On , Martinez’s 2011 neon sculpture that Drake bought for $6,000 and that still has a life of its own on Instagram:

Drake posing with Patrick Martinez’s “Less Drake, More Tupac” (2011).

Martinez created his first solo L.A. museum exhibit, in response to the Trump administration’s hostility toward undocumented immigrants and people of color:

On how expensive and unrealistic the American Dream is now, and the hope of creating a new dream to work towards:

Martinez’s Pee-Chee folder series—depicting the men, women, and children who’ve lost their lives at the hands of the police, including Stephon Clark and 6-year-old Kameron Prescott—reveals how deeply police violence impacts our communities and our youth:

Martinez is currently working on a series that examines the changing landscape of L.A., especially the use of “gentrification fences”:

The Culture LP is a cultural guide for New York City’s creatives to connect and vibe. Subscribe to our text service for personalized event recommendations, here: culturehotline.co

The Culture LP

A cultural guide for New York City's creatives to connect and vibe. Subscribe to our text service for personalized event recommendations, here: culturehotline.co

Amirah Mercer

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Freelance fashion & culture writer. https://www.amirahmercer.com/

The Culture LP

A cultural guide for New York City's creatives to connect and vibe. Subscribe to our text service for personalized event recommendations, here: culturehotline.co