This body of work expresses the mixture of intimacy and violence involving Illinois cagefighters who compete for honor and feelings of powerfulness and self-worth in today's changing 21st century. This amateur-level sporting event has become a fantasy site to relive or to retain a sense of control of our physical bodies outside of our 9-5 work week schedule. The desire for the most dedicated amateur cagefighter is to make the fantasy last longer than their 40-hour work week.
After exaggerating the flesh tones and muscle tones of each fighter with digital software tools, each image is printed with archival pigment inks. Subsequently, the print is treated with a special blend of natural oils and intentionally scuffed on the surface to generate a sense of movement and sublimation of the fighter's flesh. Afterwards, this one of a kind print is varnished and sealed.
Antonio Jacob Martinez (b.1979) is a fine art photographer and video artist who currently teaches as an Assistant Professor of Intermedia Arts at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
Antonio was born in San Jose, CA and raised in Owasso, Oklahoma, which served as a major influence concerning his identity as an atypical latino. Antonio pursued an undergraduate liberal arts education at Creighton University in Omaha, NE. And, upon earning a BFA in painting and becoming more interested in photography of his senior year in college, Antonio continued his arts practice studies in graduate school at East Carolina University, in which he earned an MFA in photography.
Antonio is intrigued with the absurdity and spectacles of life and curious about photographic materials, methods and ideas to generate new meaningful imagery. Antonio defines himself as a traditional and digital image-maker whose interests include photographing spectator events, which range from cage-fighting events to the circus. However, any subject matter is of interest to Antonio, for as long as he can recognize the spectacle and miracle in front of his lens.
Antonio has been featured in PDN magazine, Blue Sky Gallery, SFMOMA and several international film and video festivals for his contribution in the experimental moving image, notably, his project called Near the Egress.
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