Luke Martin: The Suburban Avenger

It’s an unusually warm February afternoon as screenprinter Luke Martin walks into room 3004 of Towson University’s Center for Arts.

Today, Martin will print two separate sets of posters for an upcoming The Head and the Heart concert at the Orpheum Theater in Madison, Wisconsin.

A former Towson student, Martin originally wanted to study art education and keep his art as a side hobby. He had always known that he wanted to pursue some form of art, but he wasn’t exactly sure where he wanted to focus his efforts.

In high school, he began selling his artwork at various craft fairs, and one day during his senior year, he skipped all of his classes to do his first screenprint. It was at that moment that Martin knew screenprinting was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Martin took his first screenprinting class at Towson during the spring 2016 semester. However, in October 2016, he decided to withdraw from classes to better pursue his artistic career, a career that has given him many opportunities in a relatively short period of time.

On top of printing his own artwork, he works part-time as a shop assistant for screenprinter Charlie Barton in Baltimore’s Brewers Hill neighborhood. In December 2016, Martin created a movie poster for the classic “It’s A Wonderful Life.” He also designed a series of Maryland-themed beer can prints, which have sold better than anything else he has created. Some of Martin’s work is on display at Atwater’s Cafe in Towson’s Kenilworth Mall.

Back at the CFA, Martin holds the screen open with his forehead and lines the paper up before applying various chemicals to the top of the mesh. Using a tool called a squeegee, he drags the ink down the screen, creating an image underneath. He’s working on one of the most significant prints that he has ever created.

Sleep-deprived and sore from standing, Martin finishes his final print when the sun comes up 19 hours later. However, he’s doing exactly what he has always dreamed of doing, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.

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