Frequently Asked Questions

Below, please find a list of commonly asked questions and answers. If you have a question that isn’t answered on this page, please feel free to contact Martin directly.

How did you develop this style of painting?

How do you determine which buildings to paint?

Can I commission you to do a custom painting?

Do you use any special tools to achieve the distortion in your paintings?

How do I know if the painting I purchased is hanging up ‘straight’?

Are the buildings you paint real places?

What is a giclee?

How do I pronounce your last name?

Q. How did you develop your style of painting?

A. I was trained in Visual Communications (Graphic Design) and I worked for many years as a technical architectural illustrator. Most of my artwork after I graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in 1993 consisted of extremely detailed portraits and renderings of buildings.

Over time, I found myself naturally gravitating towards more expressive and fluid means of creating artwork. As a perfectionist, I certainly prided myself in the detailed drawings I was doing before, but this style of artwork began to feel more like ‘work’ than a natural outlet for my creative tendencies.

In the late 1990s and early 2000s, I took a few painting and colour theory courses and let myself experiment more with movement and colour in artwork than I had before. Eventually, after many sketches and doodles, something clicked inside me and I found myself staring down at my very first ‘dancing building’ drawing. It instantly felt right!

The wooden frames and ‘canvases’ came soon after that first drawing. I felt that the organically-shaped frames were the perfect complement to the flexible buildings I portrayed. Today, my style is constantly developing and still changing slightly. I have been adding paintings of nature and indoor scenes to my growing collection of architectural paintings, and I have also worked with various types of woods and wood veneers for my canvases and frames.

Q. How do you determine which buildings to paint?

A. There is no shortage of inspiration in the world of architecture. I am inspired by everything from recognizable landmarks to more obscure family homes and rickety old barns. Although there are certain types of buildings that I am especially drawn to (churches and places of worship, heritage homes, barns, grain elevators, lighthouses, and windmills), I get excited looking for beautiful features in all buildings. I have a long list of paintings waiting to be made, and this list is constantly growing because of my own travels and the suggestions of others.

Q. Can I commission you to do a custom painting? How much does this cost?

A. A large part of the work I do is custom artwork for a wide range of individuals, families, and organizations. It’s always exciting for me to create a piece of original artwork that depicts a place that carries personal meaning and significance for somebody else! I accept commissions on an ongoing basis, and most of these paintings can be completed within 5 to 6 weeks (with the exception of paintings commissioned in my busiest months: July, August, November, and December. Please plan accordingly). For more information on the process and general costs of commissioned pieces, please contact me directly.

Q. How do I know if the painting I purchased is hanging up ‘straight’?

A: Obviously, because many of my paintings do not have right-angled frames, there is no real way to hang them up ‘straight’. However, if you wish to hang your purchased painting or giclée up to match the orientation I had intended of it when I painted it, please visit my main website, www.martycultural.com and locate your painting in one of my galleries. It has been photographed ‘straight’.

Q. Do you use any special tools (fish-eye lenses, computer graphics, etc.) to achieve the distortion in your paintings?

A: No, all of the movement in my paintings springs from my imagination. Although similar effects can be achieved with the use of digital technology and/or certain camera lenses, I choose not to use these tools in my artwork. Also (to touch on questions I am often asked jokingly by people), I do not need glasses and I do not use drugs or drink alcohol.

Q. Are the buildings you paint real places or are they from your imagination?

A. All of the paintings are based on actual buildings and places in nature. With the exception of some commissioned (custom) paintings, I have personally seen or travelled to every building in my artwork.

Q. What is a giclee? Why is the cost of a giclee higher than that of a regular print?

A. A giclee is a high-quality digital reproduction of an original, 2-dimensional piece of artwork. It differs from regular prints and lithographs in that the inks used are highly fade resistant and professionally colour-matched to the original painting. Most other (non-giclee) prints available for retail purchase are produced using a much cheaper process, meaning that they are less expensive to buy but also that they are of a much lower quality than a giclee, unfortunately.

I have chosen to make limited edition giclees of a number of my paintings, primarily to make my artwork more accessible and affordable to a broader range of people. All of my giclees are custom framed to look exactly like the original paintings.

Q. How do I pronounce your last name?

A. My surname is pronounced ma-HA-chek. In the Czech Republic where I am from, the ‘ch’ combination of letters is pronounced with a throaty ‘ha’, and the ‘c’ near the end is actually a Czech ‘č’, which is pronounced like the English “ch”.


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