Martin Balsam is a creative from North Little Rock, Arkansas, but currently resides in Houston, Texas. He had devoted his time to jobs that were unfulfilling, but quickly learned that he needed to take control of his journey and create from the heart. His personal brand and movement, “Nobody Support Art” serves as encouragement and support to aspiring artists who wish to pursue their passions in the arts.
Today, he wears many creative hats: artist, barber, and podcast host. When reflecting on where he started to where his journey has led him today, he states, ” I’ve became more patient and humbled. I rushed a lot and broke down a lot emotionally. I had to change who I was around and also how I talked to people.”
Tell us who you are and what you do.
I go by many names, but my most famous is Martin Balsam; the guy with the homeless sign. I came a long way since drawing on sidewalks and asking for art supplies. With everything that has happened, I’m truly grateful that everything is coming together. It’s been about two years since I started on this journey and I can’t wait to see what else I create. I’m trying to impact every form of the arts, but for starters, I created “Nobody Support Art” to influence those who want to become and/or continue as an artist. The mission is to give support and encouragement to those following our purpose in creating all art (Drawing, Sculpture, Painting, Literature, Music, Performing, and Film).
I went to college and worked regular jobs. The issue was that I didn’t belong there. I needed to create my own path and start something new that others can follow. So, with that being said, I’m just living my life the best way I know how and continuing to learn from the people around me so that I can better reach people for my projects.
Currently, I’m doing photography, barbering, and hosting a podcast titled “The Bone Show Podcast”, which is recorded during a smoke session. We talk about everyday life and how we view the world. The topics we discuss are about emotions, independence, growth, creativity and motivation of this generation. I also host instructional painting classes and live art projects on YouTube. My personal quote is “Art is more than painting on a canvas, it’s more about creating the journey”. I can only stress that so much. Just wait on it!
How have your life experiences impacted your work?
Since the move to Texas, a lot has changed, which has made me slow down and actually look at what I’m doing. I lost a lot of social media accounts and a lot of creative people. But in life we have to remember the mission and refocus. We can’t let negative situations get us down, we have to get stronger and work harder.
I’ll rather live up to my own expectations than be influenced by someone else’s.
Who are some of your influences?
I really don’t have influences. I don’t really look at what other people are doing anymore. It’s a distraction and it makes you compete and stress. Everyone is different so we have to continue to create until it’s our time to get better. We only need ourselves sometime. I’ll rather live up to my own expectations than be influenced by someone else’s.
In your journey as a creative, how have you grown from when you first began to now?
I’ve became more patient and humbled. I rushed a lot and broke down a lot emotionally. I had to change who I was around and also how I talked to people. We can’t tell everybody everything and we can’t hold onto money that needs to be spent. So now-a-days I’m just in my own world. I put a lot of content out there on social media, so now it’s time to refocus and come back stronger.
What has been your experience navigating the creative landscape of your city?
A lot of creatives are sensitive. So, it’s hard to lead people when they are stuck in their ways because every creative has a different definition of what it is to be successful.
Why do you feel that it’s important to elevate black voices as it pertains to your current industry?
I don’t know how to feel about that. I honestly feel that art has no color. But I do understand the challenges people may face when it comes to appearance. But that’s just a flaw in perception many people have. More people should stop treating people different just because they look different from them. Art is art. People are people.
What advice do you have for up-and-coming creatives in your industry?
The only advice I can give anyone is to start whatever you want to do, and start it now. Remember that you’re creating something new, so be open to critics and take your time while thinking and organizing your thoughts. The best way to do this is to get a notebook and write everything out.
Do you have any current projects coming up?
I have my first issue of “Nobody Support Art” Magazine coming soon this year. If you or anyone you know would like to model and represent NSA, I would appreciate the support and making this magazine happen sooner than later.
Stay connected with Martin Balsam via their website.