Victoria Martinez
BFA in Fine Arts Studio
Teaching Artist at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Hyde Park Art Center, and Urban Gateways

In a couple sentences, describe what you do for work and how you feel about it.

I am currently a teaching artist at the National Museum of Mexican Art, Hyde Park Art Center, and Urban Gateways. It's very fulfilling for me as an artist to share my techniques and insights with youth and collaborate with them on art projects throughout various neighborhoods in Chicago. 

How did you get your job? 

I have a long relationship with the National Museum of Mexican Art (NMMA). I took art courses as a teenager through NMMA and desired to give back to this institution for motivating me to pursue a career in the arts. In terms of Urban Gateways, I reached out to them before graduating from MCAD to learn about teaching opportunities and now I'm leading public art, painting, and fiber classes through the organization. Most recently, I started teaching at the Hyde Park Art Center, after receiving an invitation from them to contribute my skills as an artist. 

What was your major and how did you choose it? Was it the right choice?

My major was fine arts studio. My mentor Karen Wirth encouraged me to apply, which was a perfect fit since I was exploring printmaking and also teaching young people at Whittier Elementary and Bethlehem Community Center. Karen also led a soft sculpture course that reintroduced me to hand sewing, so combining the media in my studio and within the community made me feel like I was on the right track to finding my voice as an artist.  

Who was your favorite teacher and why?

Natasha Pestich and Karen Wirth. They both really made me work hard and think deeply about the materials I incorporated into my projects. They challenged me for years during critiques and although it complicated my life, I became a strong artist because of them. 

Tell us about your internship.

I was an intern at Youth Farm and learned about curriculum writing as well as harvesting crops with youth at Philadelphia Farm in Wisconsin. This experience helped me develop teaching skills and how to communicate with the younger generation. 

Best thing you ever got/saw on the free shelf?

Fabric scraps. 

Name your one biggest takeaway from MCAD?

My work ethic. 

What inspires you/your work?

Fabric, nature, the urban environment, traveling, overlooked sites, and overlooked audiences. 

Has your work evolved since leaving MCAD? How so?

Definitely. I explore various media and learned to create poems with soft materials.

What advice do you have for current MCAD students?

Drink plenty of water, tea, and juice when you're attempting an all-nighter. 

How do you network yourself and your art?

I attend art shows and presentations and talk to people I admire.

Some of the best Twin Cities offerings?

The lakes, thrift stores, Minnehaha Falls, and the Walker Art Center. 

Current obsession?

Eating fruit with a splash of lime.

What's your favorite color?

Lime green.