Martin Machado

Region: Pacific Coast

My art stems from my experience at sea as a merchant marine, commercial fisherman, and sailor. These jobs have brought me around the globe many times over—from foreign ports on international container ships to remote fishing camps in Alaska. My work is heavily influenced by eighteenth-century etchings that resulted from European voyaging to the Pacific. These were the first sailing expeditions in which artists were employed to capture images of what was discovered. I am interested in re-presenting the moments of impact when isolated societies were confronted with the Western world. Throughout my images, I use the recurring theme of the floating shipping container, which is a true phenomenon that exists at sea today. In my work, the floating container has become a vessel for ideas about the changes that have accompanied our increasingly globalized economy. At times, I appropriate figures from this historical canon and juxtapose them with figures I have encountered in my own voyaging, as a sort of call and answer through the centuries. My aim is to produce works that show the reverberating effects of colonialism on contemporary tourism and trade.