J Monte Martinez
Jacob “Monte” Martinez is an alumnus of the University of Michigan School of Art and Design. He received many awards and accolades during his MFA studies there, including the Martin Luther King Spirit Award and the Alice Webber Glover Award for Film and Video Studies.
He earned his undergraduate degree from the San Francisco Art Institute, with a major in printmaking. There he studied, as an award-winning student, under such greats as Carlos Villa, Julian Hotofski, Larry Thomas, and Rene Castro. As a preparatory assistant in San Francisco, he worked at multiple galleries and art spaces including Yerba Buena Center for the Arts and the Capp Street Project.
He taught classes at the Mission Culture Center and volunteered at the Mexican Museum. He assisted other professional artists in the Bay area such as fashion photographer Gale Beasley, muralist Keith Sklar, and site-specific sculptor Robert Catallucci. He also traveled to Hawaii to assist artist Piero Resta. He has worked as an adjunct professor at Northern Arizona University, the University of Michigan, and Bowling Green University.
Monte has also worked for the College for Creative Studies as a national recruiter for the Detroit-based arts college.
He is co-founder of 555 Nonprofit Gallery and Studios, which has been in operation since 2002. Through this project he has worked with a team of volunteer staff to construct and maintain studios and gallery spaces, manage residency artists, curate exhibitions, facilitate educational programming, and host events. Monte’s work through 555 has served an audience of thousands over its 9-year history.
As a visual artist, Monte has exhibited his work, which ranges from video and sculpture to installation, mural painting, and drawing in 6 solo and more than 35 group shows around the US including San Francisco, Phoenix, Harlem, Flagstaff, Ann Arbor, and Detroit. Among his most notable series are “Toro, Toro”, “The Winter Collection”, “American Addiction”, and “Playful Chaos”.
Monte currently works in Detroit as a public artist J. Monte Martinez, 555 Creative Director, and artist for the Community + Public Arts Detroit program.