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How They See - Issue #32: Martin Sandwich on his "alter ego" and harnessing the ink


How They See

February 20 · Issue #32 · View online

How They See will allow you to meet artists from all over the globe and understand their perception of art.

Published irregularly.

It was a pure coincidence that after speaking with Frank Moth, a creative duo who create under the pseudonym, I have approached two other artists hiding their identity. I think I took it for granted that nowadays you can find everything and everyone on the Internet. Apparently, it is not true,
I got very curious why an artist decides to create under a pseudonym and not reveal who she or he is. It is not a new concept from the historical point of view, but currently, in the times of “personal brands”, I must say it is refreshing. At least for me. However, it wasn’t only Martin Sandwich identity that grasped my attention. It is his process and abstract paintings. Martin is using ink diluted with alcohol, a medium that you can’t fully control and sometimes you have to go with the flow and appreciate the result as it is.

Who is Martin Sandwich? Usually, I am trying to do extensive research before I am starting the interview. This time it was, I must say, hard. Internet hardly knows something about you, of course apart of your Instagram account.
Well, I think it is a good thing that the internet does not know a lot about me. Martin Sandwich does not exist in real life. It is just my pseudonym, which I use to publish my art on Instagram. In real life I have an office job and I like to create abstract art in my spare time.
To be honest, I supposed that you are showing your art under the “alter ego”, a pseudonym. Just a week ago I have published an interview with Frank Moth, who are two individuals using a pseudonym to show their works. Is it any specific reason that you don’t work under your real name?
I don’t really know why I don’t use my real name. I guess I did not really take it too serious to start with (and I still don’t take it too serious) and then it stuck…
Painting by Martin Sandwich
Painting by Martin Sandwich
What is your art story? I mean, how you ended up in a place where you are?
I only started painting about 10 years ago. The trigger was that I moved into a new apartment and had a lot of wall space to be filled. Instead of spending money on other people’s art, I decided to get creative myself. That’s how I found out that I really enjoy the creative process. At some point I chose to upload my paintings on Instagram and the feedback was just overwhelming. 
I would just put it in a simple words: why art?
Like I said before, I really enjoy the creative process. I also really enjoy that my art is inspiring other people to get creative and try out things they would not do otherwise. For me one of the most interesting aspects about creating art is to see the reactions of other people to it. Some like it, some don’t and that is ok. Sometimes I finish a painting and think it is not one of my best works, but then it might happen that the feedback from others is completely different. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
I am finding something intriguing in a way, you are using colours and blending them together. Where do your ideas come from?
I spend a lot of time looking at the paintings of other artists, mainly on Instagram. That’s where I get most of my ideas from. You see things that you want to try out. That’s how I came across alcohol ink which is the ink that I mainly use now.
Painting by Martin Sandwich
Painting by Martin Sandwich
I would like to dig a little deeper in your process. How does it look like and what is the most challenging part of it?
For creating alcohol ink paintings you need a few main ingredients: the inks, special paper (yupo), isopropyl alcohol to dilute and, depending on which technique you use, something to dry it, like a hairdryer. And then the fun can begin. When I start painting, I usually have an idea in my head on which colours I want to use and how I want to arrange them. But sometimes I also just let myself go and see where it takes me. With alcohol ink the most difficult part is to control the ink, where it goes, but sometimes you just have to accept that you cannot (fully) control it.
When did you start to experiment with ink and paper and why have you chosen this particular medium?
As mentioned before, I look at many different artists on Instagram and that is also how I first came across alcohol ink. I immediately liked the way the different colours flow into each other and wanted to try it out. With experience, you get more acquainted with the medium and can try different techniques.
Majority of your art is done on Yupo paper. Does it have any special features that make you use it?
Yupo paper is a form of artificial paper, almost like plastic. Normal paper would be too absorbent for the alcohol inks and you would not get the flowing effect that you get with yupo. It is available from different brands and in different thickness, all with slightly different attributes.
Painting by Martin Sandwich
Painting by Martin Sandwich
Among all of your recent artworks, one stands out: “White imperfection”. It is in 3D, done in a completely different technique. What was the idea behind it?
Recently, I have seen some amazing pieces by artists that arrange wooden blocks, off which the top layer has been taken off in different angles. These pieces are amazing and I want to try something similar, but I neither have the material, nor the tools to create it. So I decided to create the blocks by folding paper. Ideally, I would have coloured the blocks to create an additional effect, but I decided to stick to white. Also my paper folding skills are not the best, therefore “White imperfection”.
Is it possible to see your art in a gallery?
So far my pieces are not in a gallery, but I hope maybe at some point in the future.
What do you like the most in your art?
I like the way the inks mix and give an overall light feeling. I also like to keep it colourful. I hope to give a positive feeling to the viewer.
Painting by Martin Sandwich
Painting by Martin Sandwich
Can you name the last thing, that got you inspired?
It is difficult to name a single thing. I see a lot of paintings every day and think: I should try this. Sometimes it then translates into one of my paintings.
Can you give some advice to any self-taught artist or designer?
Don’t be afraid to try out new things. Have a look online, explore and give it your own touch.
What is your favourite colour?
I don’t really have a favourite colour. A lot of my paintings feature some kind of red or blue in it. But generally I like all colours of the rainbow. 
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