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New Art: Kyle Martell

3D models, sculpture and absurd humour come together in Martell’s work.


  • Lenny Mullins

"Right now I'm focusing on Ancient Aliens theories," says artist Kyle Martell. "I've been watching it a lot on TV and thinking about that. There's this weird racism in show—it's like watching a train wreck."

Much like Ancient Aliens, Martell's work, images of which can be seen on his website/digital sketchbook, dwells in the awkward and absurd, incorporating drawing, sculpture, digital images with a strange sense of humour.

With an upcoming show at the Khyber Centre for the Arts in March, Martell works digital and physical sculpture together seamlessly. "Some people paint and some people draw, I use digital images not for political or conceptual reasons, I just like the look of it," he says. "If I'm working on a sculpture, I'm going work a complementary digital aspect into that, like video that needs to be held on a separate monitor or a projection."

Martell's 3D models are less uncanny valley and more Saturday morning cartoons—a perfect imitation is not the goal. "I find 3D models humourous, there's weird aura of them being more technological than they really are," he says. "There's an idea of them seeming daunting or impossible to make. That's what makes it funnier when it's done poorly."

Influenced by artists like Oliver Laric and Takeshi Murata, Martell says he's interested in inauthenticity and fakeness, and the honesty and humour that comes from that. "I'm making more and more cartoons and comics, still drawing a bunch. My drawings are trying to be as humourous, there's always a joke to it. I try to play with humour in everything—the humour of something being pathetic or poorly done," he says. "A little bit of an inside joke and trying to be as diplomatic as possible. I'm trying not to make it an art joke, I want someone to look at this and say it looks funny or pathetic or lame."

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