Student Spotlight

We're very proud of our students and all the hard work and dedication they bring into the studio everyday. To show our appreciation for their continual efforts we're giving the 'spotlight' to one of them each term to showcase some of their work and share a few things about themselves.


 - Spring 2018 -


David martinez

David joined us in 2017 and is finishing up the drawing programme. He discusses his journey of growth and exploration that unfolds each day in the studio.


Not so long ago, I was managing software engineering teams in Silicon Valley. I loved my positions, projects, and colleagues, and the world of start-up innovation was endlessly exciting. But my inner artist always hovered in the background. I drew constantly as a child and later, as a working adult, took frequent art classes at night to satisfy this part of my soul. When a company shutdown loomed in 2013, I decided to leap, once and for all, into the creative realm of art, and I haven’t looked back. 

In 2014 I began formal studies in illustration at the San Francisco Academy of Art and in 2015, a family relocation to London prompted me to shift my focus to the study of traditional drawing and painting. Initially I began my studies at the London Atelier of Representational Art which is where I became inspired under the influence of one of my tutors at the time, Travis Seymour. When Travis left to start the Barnes Atelier, I was excited at the opportunity to join him — he doesn’t accept many students, and continue my full time training there. 

From still life to figurative work, I have been captivated by the process of mastering materials and continually refining my foundational skills as a draughtsman. I love the process of conquering light, shadow, and value, as well as working with graphite, chalk, and charcoal.

Last year, I submitted a piece to an open call by the Art Renewal Center, and was honoured to have my work recognised as a Finalist in the Drawing Category of the 13th Annual ARC salon (2017). My work would never have gotten this far without the guidance of all of the talented teachers and mentors I’ve had the privilege to know.

I’m looking ahead with excitement to the painting program at Barnes. I am fascinated and inspired by by master painters such as Caravaggio and Diego Velásquez, as well as numerous current realist and imaginary realist painters. In the lively and free London environment, it’s easy to feel driven to develop this craft further, and hopefully share my vision while testing my limits.

* To see more examples of David’s work go to or follow him on instagram