We had the good fortune of connecting with Helena Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Helena, what role has risk played in your life or career?
I’ve learned that as cliche as it sounds, I have to believe in myself in order to be successful. Taking calculated risks (which is not to be confused with being impulsive or flippant) is part of that. I’ve had to have faith in myself and my abilities and take risks upon them. I’ve had be on my own team, rooting for myself, even if I felt like the only one. I have to trust the feelings I have about potential projects, clients, weighty decisions and act upon that inner voice instead of anxiety and panic. This has caused me a lot of sleepless nights! But taking risks on myself lead me to achieving my dream of working full time as a muralist. That gives me faith. Faith that NOT making decisions based on fear leads to positive outcomes.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I’m a muralist-that means I paint on walls instead of canvases. Murals are AMAZING because they democratize visual art. The CEO of a wealthy tech company and homeless person can both enjoy a mural regardless of their social status. Murals are inclusive. I got where I am today-working as full time artist – by following my heart. Simple, not easy. But totally worth it! I started off as a rebellious graffiti writer. With graff I learned how to use spray paint, take a diss (critique) and face some physical and emotional fears. As I softened up graffiti (words) waned and murals (imagery) waxed. It was humbling experience when I first started out. I’d haul my paint and ladder on the city bus and head to the local graffiti wall where I would paint and sling t-shirts and prints to make money. Eventually I started picking up small gigs, the first being painting Saint Guadalupe on the side of someone’s house in exchange for lunch. 🙂 My work itself is painterly and colorful, with subject matter inspired by nature, God and the people I admire. I like to paint things that are on my heart, if that makes sense. My highest hope is that by seeing my murals viewers will be triggered and get in touch with their own hearts and if they believe in her, God.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Austin is awesome because people here don’t judge so much-you are more allowed to be yourself! Austinites are generally friendly and open people relative to the other places I’ve lived in the country and its led to a lot of really good conversations with strangers, some of which have turned into really good friendships. I also love Austin’s commitment to conservation of natural areas. Lady Bird lake, Barton Springs, the Greenbelt and the Bats emerging from the Congress Street Bridge are just a couple examples of how Austin has integrated nature into an urban life. Austin also values entrepreneurship, which can be seen in the 2,000+ food trucks in the city, where small business owners make an honest living selling tasty treats. Speaking of food…Austin is also a vegan paradise, with some of my favorite restaurants being Bouldin Creek Cafe, Juiceland and Citizen Eatery.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’d like to thank Divine Truth for teaching me to trust my feelings and follow my passions.
Photo by Charlie Mural by Ricky Clack Headshot by Michael Rhodes