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Lost and Found

Exotic Inspirations

By Jordan Staggs | Photography courtesy of Marti Schmidt

The best thing about looking at a piece of art by Northwest Florida painter and printmaker Marti Schmidt is that you’ll never see the same thing twice. Each intricate curve offers the viewer a new perspective. Her layers of bold color and shapes in movement take influence from a variety of cultures and styles, including art deco geometry, New Orleans ironwork, Chinese watercolors, Byzantine mosaics, Japanese woodblocks, and more.

Schmidt, who has created art for over forty years, uses a technique called batik, a process of layering molten wax, dyes, and pigments to create images. Original batik paintings by Schmidt have been featured in luxury hotels such as the Biras Creek Resort in the British Virgin Islands and in other prestigious hotels, resorts, homes, offices, galleries, and publications around the globe. She also transformed her work into a line of hand-printed fabrics called Islandreams Textiles, sold in top showrooms around the country.

Her latest collection, Talismans–Visionary Allegories, reflects Schmidt’s affinity for mysticism and European traditions, particularly the French culture. She adapted symbols and iconography found in medieval stained glass, Gothic art and architecture, tarot practices, and writings by the likes of Carl Gustav Jung and Saint Hildegard of Bingen.

“I began to collect the symbols and images that spoke to me most,” says Schmidt. “This collection, now in its second year, continues to grow and develop as my interest and travels to France continue, focusing on frescoes and cave drawings, and as characters of medieval history reveal themselves in my research.”

"I layer patterns and iconic images created from metal and wood plates to express a personal statement.”

Unlike her signature batik style, the pieces in Talismans–Visionary Allegories are a combination of various printmaking techniques, including Chine-collé. “Utilizing my own handmade decorative papers and a variety of papers from around the world, I layer patterns and iconic images created from metal and wood plates to express a personal statement,” says Schmidt. “One of my favorites is based on the inspirational Benedictine abbess Saint Hildegard of Bingen. In October 2012, Pope Benedict XVI named Hildegard a Doctor of the Church. Each figurative piece is a combination of stories and creates the storyteller—a visionary and a poet.”

Artist Marti Schmidt. Photo by Dawn Chapman Whitty
Artist Marti Schmidt. Photo by Dawn Chapman Whitty

When she isn’t traveling the world searching for inspiration, Schmidt can usually be found documenting her findings in the form of colorful works of art. Visitors can experience the bohemian vibe and share a moment with Schmidt when they make an appointment to stop by her eclectic studio-gallery in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida. Schmidt invites them to “experience the creative magic of my studio, where wood, ink, paper, and etching press dance with the muse. It’s a place where poetry, melody, and nature join as partners in a daily score of an enchanted life.”

Get lost in Schmidt’s work and find something new within your soul.

— V —

Learn more or shop online at MartiSchmidt.com.

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