Who is on the plum tree?
I first met Marta on FaceBook when she joined my Plum Tree Books group. Immediately, I was stunned by the quality of her art ~ so full of whimsy and understatement, a natural sense of design and quirk. I asked her if she would draw the Plum Tree Books logo. We haven’t looked back since.
When I decided to venture into the world of children’s books, Marta was my fist choice of illustrator. I particularly love her black and white minimalist art with its defined edges, swirls and twirls and suggestions of other worlds being just beneath the surface. More of that on tomorrow’s blog. Today, I want to tell you about Marta ~ writer of modern fairy tales (I will be publishing her first novel in October), and artist extraordinaire.
Marta lives in Texas but grew up in Florida. It seems that Marta’s father might also have been a spinner of tales. He filled her head with tales about a witch who lived in an abandoned house under a cluster of punk trees and moss. Perhaps the drawing on the right, which I named, The Spell Tree, expresses something of Marta’s childhood. This pen and ink, which is now part of the Plum Tree Books range of exquisite greetings cards, has a Tim Burton feel about it ~ edging towards Gothic. Obviously, Marta’s childhood in Florida, inspired stories and art with sharp edges and odd twists and turns.
Marta admits to hating Florida. Hating it is part of her. She couldn’t give it up. If she did, she wouldn’t be Marta anymore. It’d be like asking her to give up coffee.
When Marta is in Florida, she feels as though death is stalking her.
She left home at 17 to study English and writing in Indiana and gained a Master’s Degree from Kent State University. To see something of the rest of the world, she joined the Peace Corps and taught English in Bulgaria for two years. But one way or another, she always created art and wrote.
Marta writes because stories well up inside her and if she didn’t let them out, she would go mad.
Marta literally cuts up her novels and uses them in her pictures. This was one of the fascinating things that initially drew me so strongly to Marta’s art. After all, as writers, we are always trying to slice up sentences, rearrange words so as to deconstruct language, to make it go beyond itself, say something a different way, burst out of its limits and express the soul of the thing that is underlying.
Marta’s work has been shown three times at Genuine Joe’s Coffee House in Austin and in Art City Austin. Her work has appeared in Onomatopoeia Magazine and been featured over at 7 Impossible Things Before Breakfast. NPR’s series “In Character” selected a short piece on her love of Dorothy Gale and a fairy tale appeared in the May 2011 issue of Scheherezade’s Bequest. Marta has also been featured in all of Plum Tree Books anthologies, in particular, she donated a piece of art for the SOS Sahel campaign.
She is now illustrating my Pa Dug & Rosie in The Garden Series, which I will say more about tomorrow!
Marta creates art and writes stories in a cluttered corner of her living room late at night while her family sleeps. She believes that art can be made anywhere and is always encouraging others to go ahead and create it.
Recently, Marta has been battling the thing many of us fear the most. She has undergone a double mastectomy and is in the throes of chemotherapy. We wish you a speedy recovery Marta, and we thank you for the gift of your exquisite art and soul.
Greetings cards and books available from www.plumtreebooks.co.uk