No airplane travel required for this artist’s meeting. Just the usual crazy rush-hour traffic as I drive up to San Francisco. My GPS directs me to the Hunters Point Shipyard Studio’s; an artist community founded in 1984, currently providing studio space for around 300 artists. Amongst them, artist Martín Revolo, or “Shulka” as he likes to call himself. I am about to meet a humble, and sensitive man, who feels that being human is at the foundation of everything he does, continuously working towards becoming a better one.
Photographs and an old Russian camera
He greets me with a warm welcome, music, and wine and after spending some time with his work, he leads me to a table where a portfolio is waiting. A collection of work, photography, with a significant meaning. Martín shares with me three series of photographs, each representing a phase, growth, and choices he made along the way; a continued journey of the artist. One beautiful photograph after another, each taken with an old Russian camera, left to him by his father, whom he lost as a very young boy in Lima, Peru.
A mystical kid he was, curious, and sensitive, raised mostly by his grandmother in the mountains of Peru. Martín became more grounded as he grew up, realizing only later in life that his sensitivity is an important part of him. “It facilitates me in everything I am and do.”
Martín, the artist
A musician, with an urge to travel, Martín, at 19, left Peru to work on cruise ships, playing his guitar. He lived some years in the UK, and in Florida, until he settled down in San Francisco, about a decade ago. Meeting wonderful and inspiring people, one in particular, who guided him towards becoming an artist. Martín tells me it has been relatively easy to walk the path since. “Art allows me to fulfill something inside me. I am able to discover and explore things inside myself that I know I always had, but was never able to describe or name. Art is harmonizing and has allowed me to connect with the most wonderful and inspiring people, each meeting adding to my journey; allowing me to grow as a human being, and as an artist.”
“Creativity is something we all have”, Martín says. “Our very will to live requires it” and, he needs it. “If I refrain from creativity for too long, I get anxiety, become bitter. I need to be able to channel my creativity in a harmonious way. I had it since I was a kid. You can say it comes naturally.”
When creating the early series of photographs, Martín was very much in control of the process and end-result. Knowing exactly how the final product would look like, Martín describes himself “a control freak” at the time. Today, he is more accepting, less critical of himself, and others. The journey more important than the goal, Martín is now more interested in what something could become, the potential. By using his hands, and his materials, whatever fits. Martín is letting something else be part of the process, something he has no control over; a creative force. “A better, and more organic approach giving me more satisfying results.”
Each project is different, but a new work always starts with a feeling which after a while, transforms into something Martín calls a “calling”: an inspiration, born in something he read, saw, or felt. Conceptualizing this feeling, Martín starts gathering items. Slowly it will become clear what he is going to do. He creates a picture in his mind, aware this is not the definite picture. “Using creative energy, the original feeling, or concept, will transform into something more demanding. For this process to take place, I need to be isolated, allowing me to consciously detach myself. The things I gathered, all of a sudden make sense. I do not know where and when it will be done, but this is what is in front of me and I have work to do. Sometimes for many hours, until my body tells me when it is finished. A release will follow in the form of fatigue, tears of joy or a laugh. I feel alive!”
For the future, Martín would love to show his work more but realizes he would not be happy being well known. His aspirations lie more in a vision he has of establishing a community: Shulka’s Social Club. ”A large room with art everywhere. A smaller stage on the side where you can have live music. People would come in to have a drink or something, perhaps eat some Peruvian food while enjoying art, music, poetry. Organizing exhibits and showcasing the artists. The second floor will be my studio, where myself and others can teach art and share everything we have learned along the way.”
On my way back home, I wonder what else life’s magic has in store for Martín. For now, I am honored we have him in our midst.
Interested in having Martín’s art on your wall?