Fine Art

Street gospel

An outsider artist lands at Trifecta

Ten Test Tubes” by Robby Martin.
Susanne Forestieri

The Biscuit Street Preacher, aka Robby Martin, had to start his young life over many times, so reinvention comes easily, hence the pseudonym. He spent his early childhood in Alabama with his grandfather, who made biscuits and gravy every Sunday morning before church, then in his teens was trundled off to York, Pennsylvania, to live with his dad and various stepmothers in this town of derelict factories. In emulation of Jean-Michel Basquiat, he started painting vivid graffiti on the grimy walls. When he landed in Las Vegas 14 years ago, he switched to the more traditional canvas to create visually complex scenes where crudely drawn but strangely poignant figures seem trapped by steel girders, chain-link fences and slabs of masonry—the childlike honestly and emotional resonance are astonishing.

The Details

Escape Hatch
Through September 27
Trifecta Gallery, 103 E. Charleston #108.

How do you find images for your paintings?

I wake up in the morning with images flipping through my mind. It’s almost annoying. I have to get them out. The images are realistic, but as emotions/colors take over the imagery becomes more abstract.

Although your style is consistent, the subject matter is varied. Is there a common thread that inspires you to paint a prison yard/carnival, a science lab and a downscale department store?

[The common thread is] how odd we are as human beings; how we don’t seem to belong, like bizarre alien creatures that have just landed on Earth; how we don’t seem like part of the natural world.

The bottom line: Three and a half stars


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