Martin Dunn

Artist bio

For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to view the human experience through the biggest possible lens. My desire is to lean in, listening and learning more about the monotony of life as it is lived by people who have little in common with me. The journey has taken me to nursing homes, operating rooms, county jails, homeless camps, Hispaniola, Africa, churches, temples, mosques, and synagogues. It has cost me dearly, but with such rewards! I’ve found that people are hard to hate close up; that children often have the clearest vision. I’ve found that we are much more alike than we are different; that most of us are eager to communicate. Through it all, I’ve realized that we are all connected in a very difficult-to-explain way, and that connection is unbreakable. I can forget it for a while, but I cannot break it. I’ve also found that there is so much more for which words have not been invented. And that’s where art comes in. My father was an artist. He worked as a commercial illustrator in the days before clip art. He was also a war hero, who suffered from PTSD for the rest of his life. His few oil paintings are dark, monochromatic renderings of fighter planes in tight formation. He was trying to say something that the society of that era wouldn’t let him put into words. Wise people say that the greatest tragedy of trauma is the loss of vulnerability. Dad could never let his guard down. But we had a common language in our art; him instructing, me learning. What we couldn’t share in conversation is right there on the canvas. My dad shared his art language with me, and now it is my turn to share it with you. My version is not as dark as his. When I look at my portfolio, I see hope and a clear call to lean in. Start the conversation, listen with passion. Enjoy. And thank you.


The Bishop of Newtown



Artist Statement

Sarasota, FL, where I live, has the audacity to name its redline district Newtown. If you are poor and/or black in wealthy Sarasota, you probably live in Newtown. Bishop Stanford Jerome Perkins and his wife Pastor Theresa Perkins have lived in Newtown their entire lives. Their titles are self-appointed. Their church, Trinity Multicultural Life Church, has maybe a dozen core members.  He and his wife have enjoyed an uninterrupted flow of otherwise unwanted children through their home for over thirty years. Their school, Esther's School, admits troubled kids who have been expelled from public school.  They don't bother with the child protection system.  They don't get financial assistance.  The children grow up and move on; some remembering and some not. Money is always an issue. The Bishop would like to be rich; the Pastor and I tell him that he is.  In Africa a man's worth is measured by the number of children he is a father to; biological or not.  By that standard the bishop is a very wealthy man indeed.
So when an opportunity came up to paint a portrait of the Bishop and the Pastor, I arranged to come by the school and take pictures of the students. I had this idea to paint him as Maasa Musa, the richest man who ever lived, surrounded by his wealth. They loved the result. A giclee hangs in a prominent place at the school.
I create a lot of art. I always have. The art I keep; the art I share; addresses one or more of the following: awareness, conversation, relationship, community, healing. The Bishop of Newtown touches on all five. I want to share it with as many as I can.

How it fits into contest

Somewhere in the process of creating The Bishop of Newtown I ran across a statement by St. Thomas Aquinas: "Prius vita quam doctrina"--"Life is more important than doctrine"; which I put in the painting engraved into the top arch of his chair. Many have discounted the Bishop and the Pastor because they don't have credentials; their titles are self-appointed. But once he has prayed over you, as he does for me every Sunday morning, you realize a kind of affirmation that only the Holy Spirit can convey. The man and his wife are in the thick of the battle every day; keeping the enemy at bay in an otherwise dark place. And they know how to put on the full armor of the Lord--they have to.


Me, Marty Dunn, artist

How to Purchase this Artwork

The original oil painting, mounted on aluminum composite panel (ACP) and nicely framed, is available for purchase through my website for $2950. Giclees, also mounted on ACP are available in a variety of sizes for $300-400.

Other Goods & Services Available from this Artist

Other original oils, giclees, and note cards are available through my website.

Submit Your Artwork Today!

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