The Art of Lydell Martin
ARTIST LYDELL MARTIN
ARTIST LYDELL MARTIN
“Never let anybody tell you what you can’t do. Don’t be afraid to create. Who’s to say what you cannot do?” These are the ever-lasting mother-to-son words spoken into the life of what would later become one of America’s most gifted artistes, Lydell Martin. His signature pieces, which are rich with vibrant colors and diverse in bedazzled accents, have given personality to vases, plates and other inimitable items that have been received by an array of dignitaries and celebrities to include but not be limited to Tyler Perry, Aretha Franklin, 2 Chainz and even President Barack Obama.
These are major accomplishments for a self-taught artist who has been honing his craft since the tender age of 10. Martin learned early on, after moving to Atlanta from Macon, Georgia that he would need to grab hold of something he could do well so that his gift could be nurtured. “My move to Atlanta put me in the company of other kids who were already focused on the things they knew how to do,” Lydell reflects. “For me, I knew I could draw. Even at the young age of 10, teachers were coming to me for my drawings.”
As Lydell grew older, he learned to enhance his skills set by incorporating the use of the computer. He and his wife, Cepada, of 38 years (as of August 2019) started their art and design studio designing one of a kind awards for corporations. His first big break came in 1996 when he was asked to paint the recipients for the Trumpet Awards Foundation, which included Harry Belafonte, Tiger Woods, and Attorney Johnnie Cochran, among others.
He also had the opportunity to have his vases merchandised at 450 J.C. Penney stores throughout the country. Very young in his business at the time, Lydell was reluctant to pursue the opportunity after a church member made him aware of it. “I finally mustered up enough courage to look into it,” he states. “Cepada and I got dressed up and flew to Plano, Texas. When we arrived, it was almost like a red carpet experience. I nearly blew the deal because the amount of vases I could produce was nowhere near what was needed. There was one person there, though, that helped me rethink it, and with that help, the company gave me an assignment of producing so many vases over a certain time period. We did it, and what a blessing that was.”
Lydell’s unique style has brought him much acclaim. Some of his commissions include The Trumpet Awards Foundation, Arista Records, The National Conference of Black Mayors, V-103 FM, American Red Cross, 100 Black Men and Spelman College. He has achieved international acclaim when he was selected to represent the United States at the International Conference of Mayors in Africa. His most recent achievement is that of being selected by the City of College Park to create a super heros series. “The Readers” was created to capture the attention of school children in College Park and beyond and influence them to read.
Lydell credits his mother, a classy and stylish beautician who served many well-known entertainers in the 1960s and 1970s, with having a major impact on his development as an artist. “When you see my artwork, the pieces with the big hair and rhinestones all are in reverence to and appreciation for my mom. Not only did her style impress upon me, but she would always encourage me to think outside the box.” His mother’s influence, coupled with his strong faith in God, have laid a solid foundation for his success. He is on a mission to inspire and motivate youth to understand that if they believe in themselves and do the right things in life, they can accomplish anything. As such, Lydell has started an organization called Pass the Brush for the purpose of teaching kids skills in the arts. Once they are taught, they have to teach their peers.
Lydell and Cepada are the proud parents of two adult daughters, Bakisa and Baceka. They also have two grandchildren, Kalize and Richard Jr.