Interview & Photographs Justin Chung

Theo Martins, Cereal and Such

Los Angeles, CA

June 25, 2020
Los Angeles, CA

Last year, my friend Audrey connected me with Los Angeles-based artist, Theo Martins. Meeting Theo was like catching up with a friend of many years; we just saw eye to eye on many things and had this incredible energy and desire to create work. In getting to know Theo, he approaches his work in various outlets; he is an American singer, songwriter, rapper, record producer, actor, DJ, and fashion designer.
Here's some photographs from a visit at Office + Gallery, his showroom and gallery in LA:


Theo, when I came by your office, you were in the process of about to be releasing your own cereal. Can you share a little bit about that and how it came about to be?

That was quite a time. I look at that moment now as a culmination of a bunch of separate things coming together to make something whole. I have worked in various mediums since I could remember, with each year adding another skillset to my existing artillery. Launching my line of cereal initially felt like another task but the process taught me it was a better way of communicating my work. A way of saying many things with one thing. I look back to that moment as clarity.
Where does your interest in making things come from?

Curiosity or fantasy, because those things can become real things. As much as I fantasize or am curious about the future I’m just as present, walking with my two feet on the ground. My day to day experiences directly influence my ideas and I don’t get in the way of that. Sometimes my interest comes from my utter dissatisfaction too. Maybe more than I give it credit.
On inspiration and influences, who or what do you think has impacted your work the most?

I’m inspired by boundless energy, honestly. Fearlessness. If you possess that in your walk and talk, if it exists in your work - you’ve got me. A lot of my friends I look to in admiration: Steve Lacy is so timeless, I love it. Syd, Matt Martians, Jan Gatewood, Rhea Dillon, BAFIC, Janicza Bravo. Exceptional thinkers. David Hammonds, of course. Ellsworth Kelly, Jay-Z, plenty folks.
It seems like every time I catch up with you, you have various projects going on. What are some of the ways you recharge and stay balanced?

I enjoy walking a great deal. It’s just something I feel helps channel my energy and centers my focus. Cereal, too. Can’t forget that.


We both live in Los Angeles and have talked about the beauty of living here – from the weather to the food – what is your idyllic day around town?

I love to float around the city. It’s a big city so you can typically find yourself involved in various activities. Things have severely been impacted by COVID, however I’m still out going for a stroll as much as possible. Catching the sunset while outside. It’s a dream.
Los Angeles is often stereotyped as a hard place to find personal connections and make friends, yet we seem to keep running into each other; catching up at our barbershop, Vinny’s, and the casual bump-ins at Soho House. I can feel the synergy every time we meet up. How do you feel the urban sprawl of LA has shaped your community, for better or worse?

Outside of the celebrity culture Los Angeles is generally known for there’s a solid group of people here who enjoy working and connecting on a human level. I love that about Los Angeles. There’s real culture here and if you can pause for a moment to cut through the fluff there’s real beautiful people here that will accentuate your experience. ●