History of Al Martinez Painting
This painting of Al Martinez, Pulitzer Prize winning Los Angeles Times columnist was originally painted for a book signing promotion at Village Books in Pacific Palisades, Ca. Later the painting was purchased by the LA Times and used on the cover of “Reflections: Columns from The Los Angeles Times” published in August 2003. The book has 100 of his best columns. In March of 2012 the Huntington Library showcased an exhibition “Al Martinez: Bard of L.A.” Focuses on Popular Pulitzer Prize–Winning Journalist that looked back on Al’s six-decade-long
journalistic career. The painting was used again, commercially for the promotion of the exhibit. Later the LA Times gave the painting to Al Martinez when he displayed in his home.
First Meeting with Al Martinez
I first met Al Martinez when he came to my studio to pose for some reference photographs for the publicity portrait I was doing for an upcoming book signing at a local bookstore. At the time my studio, was a 1957 trailer (which I used for fifteen years) that sat on the bluffs overlooking the blue Pacific. He was fascinated with my living and working conditions and in his journalistic mind quizzed me on my lifestyle. Upon his discovery that I had been an executive with a large corporation for a number of , and left to become an artist, interested him enough to write a column about my transition for the Los Angeles Times.
Our friendship started then and I met with him a number of times and spoke occasionally over the phone. I had never met anyone who had such a inquisitive mind- particularly because of his age. He was in his mid to late seventies and still searching out interesting people to write about. He passed away in January of this year at the age of 85.
Al Martinez wrote in 2009 in his final column for the Los Angeles Times. “They all mattered to me, the clowns and the victims, those who gave and those who took….”
Over three decades, Martinez chronicled life in Southern California as a columnist who had “an extraordinary ability to take something very personal and spin it out beautifully to make you laugh or weep,” said Sue Hodson, curator of the 2012 Huntington Library exhibit “Al Martinez: Bard of L.A.”
The original painting of Al Martinez by artist John Robertson is 4 1/2 feet by 6 feet, acrylic on unstretched canvas