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Pick Me Up Q&A Series: Martina Martian

20 year old Sydney based illustrator Martina Martian (real surname Calvi in case you were wondering) taught herself to embroider from Youtube videos. She’s applied her self professed ‘Saved By The Bell’ inspired style to everything from street art to enamel pins. We’re pretty excited to bring some of her work to this side of the world and her all-over t-shirts and vest dresses are available for pre order now. Here’s a little more about her.

How would you describe your style?

My style has a touch of nostalgia and a lot of pink.  I really love 80’s/90’s street wear and sneaker designs, so that generally comes through in my work.

Martina Martian artwork
Mini prints and a skate deck created by Martina Martian using her signature colour palette.
Tell us a bit about how you developed your aesthetic

I did a lot of research into 80’s design for a uni assignment, so my work started off being very influenced by that era. As I became more confident in myself as a designer, my personal interests such as hip hop, street fashion, sneakers and feminism shaped my aesthetic more and more. I still try to let my style evolve as my interests do.

What’s your first weapon of choice when creating new work?

Graphics tablet! Owning one changed my life.

Martina Calvi all-over t-shirt
Prepping screens to print all-over t-shirts using Martina Martian’s sneaker pattern.
How different was the design process for your Pick Me Up print/t-shirt knowing that the final image would be interpreted as a screen print?

Being limited to using one colour was a huge challenge for me, and that was partly why I was so excited to take on the project. I often use multiple bright colours in my illustrations, so having that restriction forced me to get out of my comfort zone. It was exactly the little push my creativity needed.

martina Martian all-over t-shirt
Hot off the press – a stack of newly printed tees.
You’ve had the opportunity to work on some exciting projects, has anything made you consider a complete career change?

I was recently able to travel to Kiribati to collaborate on projects with other academics. Kiribati is a group of really remote islands in the middle of the Pacific, and the people there live very happy, peaceful lives. Living on such a beautiful island with no technology really made me consider just taking up fishing and staying there forever. Unfortunately I’ve never managed to catch a fish though, so I think I’ll stick to design!

And what’s been a highlight?

Besides my trip to Kiribati, it would be working and meeting other creatives. I’ve been able to collaborate with such amazing people in the industry and made lasting friendships. No matter what exciting projects my future holds, the highlight will always be the people I’ve been blessed enough to meet along the way.

3rd Rail x Martina Martian for Pick Me Up

The 3rd Rail x Martina Martian for Pick Me Up t-shirt and vest dress are available for pre order now from