Martin Cantos, 21, is a photographer and filmmaker who through his work, explores gender roles and romanticized nostalgia. "My art rediscovers femininity with childhood undertones," he explains, "the feeling of nostalgia has such an specific vibe, color and shape to it I usually try to reconstruct".
Where are you originally from?
Where do you currently live?
in the stars
Preferred art medium:
photo and text
Hobby or interest aside from art?
I really like dogs.
Probably reality tv haha
Who are some of your favorite artists?
Petra Collins! Matt Lambert, Marina Diamandis, Tessa Ia, Stephen Shore.
Changes every time, probably Melancholia. Though I have really been digging this Mexican director Manolo Caro, his films are fantastic.
Probably Lolita by Nabokov
Crybaby by Melanie Martinez will always have a huge impact on my art as well as Electra Heart by Marina and the Diamonds.
What are 3 things you want to achieve?
Learn more, live more, love more.
What is something you deeply love about yourself?
My otherness, I guess.
How has Instagram worked for you as an artist?
I think it is such an important space for artists, more than any real one in terms of learning. It’s helped me improve, and I’ve met such amazing people. It’s given me hope.
Briefly describe the circumstances under which you grew up:
I had a lonely but incredibly whimsical childhood I still very frequently reminiscence about. The nostalgia in the superstructure of my work comes from there.
How do you think these circumstances influenced your art?
My art rediscovers femininity with childhood undertones, the feeling of nostalgia has such an specific vibe, color and shape to it I usually try to reconstruct.
"My art rediscovers femininity with childhood undertones, the feeling of nostalgia has such an specific vibe, color and shape to it I usually try to reconstruct"
What would you say are your artwork’s main themes? Gender and identity for sure. I don’t feel comfortable with the moral-based gender binary system. By challenging it, my main goal is to find myself through others: play pretend, no stigmas.
How would you describe your style?
I think it is kind of poetic.
Can you remember a specific experience from your life that has shaped who you are and what you do as an artist today? I think not fitting in challenged me to create a new norm, a new visual world.
What are you trying to communicate with your art?
I think its usually a conversation with myself, how I see… how I am seen.
(Certain) Artists tend to have a stereotype attached to them of being dramatic with addictive personalities. What do you feel about this assumption?
But you’re stereotyping the word “artist”. We are all artists at a stated time, and we are all different too.
As an artist, do you find yourself drawn to any addictive disorder?
This is a very interesting question. Besides my obvious addiction for pastel colors, I really don’t have any. It is very weird. I don’t drink, don’t smoke, etc. and it’s funny because people expect me to! And when I say I don’t, they see me as less of an artist for some reason, which is very ironic. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with consuming whatever feels right to you, but to each their own, you know? Everyone has their way of doing things.
Have you had any struggle with mental illness and if so, would you like to share your experience with us?
I definitely have social anxiety, which is very blinding… especially if you want to do art. It gets me very frustrated at times.
Artists paths are normally non-linear. Can you recall for us what your path has been like?
I believe there’s a difference between being a photographer or a painter or a writer, and an artist. You need a clear statement. Anybody can do anything aesthetically pleasing, but art goes beyond that now. It’s not about the medium. It’s a matter of knowing your reality, your struggles and what’s behind them, the world and your ethics.
What kind of patterns, routines or rituals do you have to keep the creative juices flowing? I just need music and time.
Do you think your ethnicity, gender, and/or personal preferences drove you towards becoming an artist? For sure, if you don’t have anything to fight against, what’s the purpose of becoming one?
"There’s a difference between being a photographer or a painter or a writer, and an artist. You need a clear statement. Anybody can do anything aesthetically pleasing, but art goes beyond that now. It’s not about the medium. It’s a matter of knowing your reality, your struggles and what’s behind them, the world and your ethics"
If you could change one thing in how the world works, what would it be?
Gender stereotyping for sure.
What is your opinion of the art world as it is right now? is there anything you'd like to change?
It is conflicting, but it should be. I would probably change the arrogance aspect in it.
How do you think the internet aids/complements the art world? And how do you think it deteriorates it?
Cyberspaces are clearly our bigger reality that let art be art: they give everyone a voice (to a certain extent, I could easily get started on the censorship problems it also provides). It opens a lot of possibilities to make a statement, to connect with those who agree with you and discuss with those who don’t. But it also becomes a space of fragments and homogeneity laying behind a numerical blanket of money.
What draws you towards your particular art medium? Photography has a ghostly attribute to it that allows me to create my own ideal world. It’s a scape, a paradox, an extension of your body that sometimes hurts.
"[The Internet] opens a lot of possibilities to make a statement, to connect with those who agree with you and discuss with those who don’t. But it also becomes a space of fragments and homogeneity laying behind a numerical blanket of money"
How have you developed your own unique style?
I used to experiment a lot until Baby Blue. With it, the imaginary of my ideal world became real, and everything else has piled up from there, conceptually and aesthetically.
What are the main obstacles you have had to overcome as an artist? Social media, social media, social media. It’s deteriorating as its benefiting.
Describe briefly the current cultural circumstances you live in now?
An economically unstable paradigm based on white-cis-hetero-men.
How do you think these circumstances influence your art? My art is a small needle that helps me break down that paradigm, or at least show myself there’s otherness.
What project are you currently working on? Any upcoming shows/ plans?
I have started working with guys and plan to keep doing so; it’s such a different dynamic that makes me discover and understand myself better. I plan to release soon a big series regarding drugs, dolls, femininity and society as well.•
Follow his work here: