Scott Martinson said it was "the most amazing feeling" to be voted "Best Local Artist" in the 2016 Siouxland's Choice Awards; his hard work over the last year seems to have paid off.

He graduated from Morningside College and became the artist-in-residence at Iowa State University Design West in downtown Sioux City.

"That was a great experience," said Martinson. "I got to meet so many cool people. Part of what they wanted me to do down there was to have events. I had some pretty crazy stuff go on down there; we had an [electronic dance music] party and it was kickass."

Events like this allowed Martinson to meet and connect with the new artists in town. Although he's been drawing for most of his life, Martinson has only been painting for the past four years. He fell in love with the art after taking a painting class. He knew this is what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.

Martinson has been "working his ass off" painting piece after piece after piece. He said he's fortunate enough and thankful to have commissions at this point in his career. The subjects in his paintings are mainly people.

"There's nothing like looking at someone's eyes and seeing the window into their soul and finding out who they are and expressing their personality," he said. "Capturing a moment is also another thing I like."

For instance, Martinson has, on many occasions, painted portraits of bands as they play live. Music and art, he said, are very closely related. 

"Everything in life is driven by sound and music just goes right through me. So while I'm painting, I can relax and just let it happen. It almost seems like the music paints for me."

The local band Black Death Jet Set played at Vangarde Arts while Martinson captured the performance on a six-foot-by-twelve-foot mural with three other local artists. It was an experience, he said, of being a part of something "bigger." The painting transformed in front of Martinson's eyes.

Martinson was also busy painting murals of presidential candidate Bernie Sanders. Inspired by the Vermont Senator, Martinson painted two portraits -- one in Sioux City, the other in Des Moines.

What's next for the 47-year-old painter? Well, he currently has aspirations of becoming "the wedding painter," in which Martinson will capture the physical moment and emotions that transpire at weddings. Lately, Martinson has seen work as an "event painter" -- all the while expressing a person's feelings and inner self.

"It's not that I just like to draw people, I like to draw emotion," said Martinson. "I like showing the viewer a little bit of the insight into what I feel about a person when I look at them and what they're giving me.

"I've seen absolutely beautiful women get uglier and uglier by the minute as I'm painting them, because they're personalities are horrible. But I've also seen regular people where you get a sense of where their warmth and compassion. I want to capture personalities and emotions in these paintings."

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Weekender reporter

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