Martyn Thompson, Artist, Photographer and Founder of Martyn Thompson Studio
Artist & Photographer
So what are you drinking?
Espresso. I’m really a tea drinker but since this is “coffee and conversation,” I’m going with it.
Tea because of home, London?
Yes. Tea for me is home, it takes me back to my roots.
And what brought you to New York from London?
I moved here to expand my career as a photographer and artist. I’m originally from Australia, my family moved to London when I was very young and then I moved to Paris for a few years before coming to New York.
What is your vision of equality?
Equality is equal rights for all. I believe having laws in place that enforce equality is actual proof of a commitment to true equality. I’m a very practical person, I like tangibility and having laws that enforce equality is the only way to ensure accountability on all sides. Provision of social services, access to quality education - these are all things that create equality within society but we have to have systems in place that ensure every single person has access to these opportunities.
How do we get there?
First, we need to retrain our way of thinking about money. Our happiness can not be based on how much money we have or the things we’re able to buy. Happiness is measured by acts of good, not money. Of course money is an important tool but it does not define who we are as people. I think this is the very first step in creating true equality for all people.
In what ways have you actualized this way of thinking?
As a Photographer I’ve turned down jobs that I just don’t feel good about. If I allowed money to overpower my instincts, I wouldn’t have been able to turn down those jobs. As an artist and designer my purpose is to inspire others to express themselves through craft and to value their own individuality.
As an Artist and Photographer, I create content. And I think my responsibility is to educate through my work whenever possible. Education deepens our understanding of the world around us. That understanding builds empathy and tolerance. Every moment we take to educate ourselves, we awaken our consciousness and media is a very powerful way to do it.
And how does your work shape your perspective?
I’ve learned through my work that it is most important to be deeply aware of yourself. Being aware of what you bring to the table in any situation is key. My style of photography and design is informed by my deep understanding of who I am. Time is a very important piece to understanding yourself. We all have to take the time to learn ourselves so that we can trust. Your instinct is your greatest asset and you have to trust it.
What are ways we can build this skill of trusting our instinct?
Create. There is so much power in creating something, you learn so much about yourself. Whether you write, knit, paint, sculpt - using your own hands to create something instills confidence, it makes us strong and reminds us to trust our abilities. I recently did a workshop where we molded clay, we only had about a minute and once that minute was up we had to describe our creation using only one word. We did that over and over and then at the end we had to take all of those individual words and write a story around them. Now my story wasn’t anything special but I valued the exercise because not only was it fun but it gave us all the freedom to simply create. The workshop gave us permission to experiment and that’s what we all need. We have to find ways to create for ourselves safe spaces where we’re able to experiment, to learn and to create.
Thank you so much for taking the time.