Jazz.com is pleased to feature the striking jazz paintings of Martel Chapman. Please note that reproduction or use of these images without the written consent of the copyright holder is strictly prohibited. Inquiries about purchasing or licensing these works can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
When Martel Chapman first came across John Coltrane's "Blue Train" re-issue in 1997, he did not realize that this music would change his life. "I hadn't recognized what artistry was until that point," Chapman recalls. "I listened to the opening theme a dozen times on my way to work that day. A year later, I quit that job and decided that my main energy was going to be dedicated to the music of jazz and the individuals that created it."
Chapman's approach draws on the spirit of jazz music as well as its subject matter. "I am trying to apply what I understand about improvisation in the music and bring out the creators of the music," he notes. "Hearing what Coltrane had done with "My Favorite Things" and what Thelonious Monk had done with his own compositions has developed what I am trying to do: grow as a painter.
"I never embraced what an artist was, as I hardly maintained any skill that I had. Drawing here and there, mainly caricatures of co-workers and athletes over the years. When I found jazz, everything changed as I pursued the music and, now, I am pursuing my own development. I owe what I am doing today to the creators of jazz music. That opening theme of "Blue Train" is still vibrating through my bones, ten years later."