Helena Martinez


Helena works with hot glass
Check out Helena in this video.

Helena grew up in the Albany Park neighborhood of Chicago and has lived in the same house since she was 3 years old. Helena attended Lane Tech High School.

"Although they offered art classes there, I never felt comfortable or very supported because there were so many students to keep track of that it was difficult for anyone to get much one-on-one help. I also felt like there was a lack of freedom when making art in school because there was always a set of rules we had to follow. Sure we could try to express ourselves as much as possible within the limits but I didn't feel comfortable working under a time limit and being graded. When I started to go to Marwen, I was introduced to a whole new world and the possibilities of creating seemed endless. I always say that if it weren't for Marwen, I don't know what would have become of me as a person, student, and artist. They taught me so many things in ways that felt comfortable because the teachers actually tried to make each learning experience for each student as individual as possible. Eventually I left Lane Tech and went to an alternative school where they didn't offer any type of art classes because they focused on just getting credits done so that students could graduate. Marwen gave me a chance to continue learning about what I loved while I was at this new school. I have grown into the person I am today because of Marwen.
Through Marwen, I did an internship at the Art Institute of Chicago in the Ryan Education Center for a year. I helped set up artist studios for children and guided them through the projects. I also helped assist the teachers whenever there were special events hosted in the Education Center. Interning at the Art Institute provided me with a little bit of insight on how the museum worked as well as what teaching young children was like. It was my first teaching experience and it helped me realize that I want to pursue teaching art as a career. I also did an internship at ArtReach at Lillstreet. There I was given the chance to learn more about what it takes to lead a class by watching and eventually assisting the teacher. This experience further led me to be sure of my career choice. I continue to volunteer for ArtReach weekly.

In my own practice, I make art out of found objects to give them a new purpose. Happiness is behind most of my pieces. and after that there is pure playfulness. My art is open to interpretations but it is meant to make you laugh, cry, and smile."

Here are some of the samples of her artwork from Marwen and her teaching work. Her focus lately has been on developing the practice and craft of teaching, as she completes her diploma and follows her path toward a career in art education.
Helena Martinez sculpture Helena Martinez sculpture Helena helps with the wheel