• Professor, Art/Art History

Research Summary

My conceptual process begins with a walk, an intimate physical, emotional experience. I augment empirical observations with electronic/print media research, personal history, and conversations with residents. “Tantalus” is based on my experiences with communities that have been impacted by industrial waste. Traveling within the margins of this space allowed me to perceive others in myriad ways, all of which are now dependent not on preconception but circumstances and experiences.


  • Master of Fine Arts, Painting and Drawing, The School of the Art Institute of Chicago


V. Kim Martinez, MFA, Professor of Painting and Drawing at the University of Utah, since 2001. Her research interests include Painting and Drawing, Encaustic Painting, Community Murals, Foundry, Mosaics, and Video Animation. She received her terminal degree from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago, where she received the George L. & Ann Roman Siegel Foundation fellowship.


Kim Martinez's research concerns visual communication that investigates societal structures that shift/fluctuate between the positive and the negative, the concrete and the abstract, based on direct experience with the challenges of specific locations and situations. Her research record includes over 170 curatorial regional, national, and international exhibitions. Regional: Salt Lake City, Ogden, Park City, Ephraim, and Springville. National: New York, Illinois, California, New Mexico, Arizona, Colorado, Nebraska, Ohio, Florida, Vermont. International: Mexico, China, Colombia, Brazil, Guainía, Occupied Palestine Territory, Chile, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Cambodia, and Uganda. Artist fellowships include The Sara Lee Foundation, Ragsdale, Vermont Studio Center, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, Social and Public Art Resource Center, International Iron Casters, Kenyon College, Grand Canyon University, the University of Utah John R. Parks/UCLA César Chávez Mural Lab, Salt Lake County Aging Services and the College of Fine Arts.


Professor Martinez is an enthusiastic educator and is committed to public engagement through the arts. In 2002, she envisioned a community mural course to provide students real-world experience to create, propose, and implement public art in the form of mural designs and site-specific painting throughout the Salt Lake City area. Martinez has received grants from The National Endowment for the Arts "Challenge America" through the Utah Arts Council, Utah Transit Authority, City of South Salt Lake, Salt Lake County, University of Utah Residential Living Center, Primary Children's Medical Center, Department of Ballet, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School, the Utah Division of Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Esperanza Elementary School & Volunteers of America, Murray City, and School District, and Salt Lake County. The grants have provided equipment and supplies to complete 47 murals as well as 204 student travel scholarships. Kim's commitment to innovation and exploration of teaching methodologies is exemplified by an interdisciplinary undergraduate experience at the University of Utah's Taft -Nicholson Center in Centennial Valley, Montana. The immersive residency incorporates intellectual growth, experimental painting techniques, and introduction to the ecology of landscapes to foster the development of unexpected ways of ideating the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem's rugged landscape to impact students' conceptual, formal, and sustainability processes. Martinez is the recipient of the College of Fine Arts Faculty Excellence Award, the University of Utah's Tanner Humanities Center "Professors Off-Campus Project," the "Distinguished Innovation and Impact Award" received recognition from The Center for Disabilities.


Martinez's commitment to the university's shared governance philosophy is reflected by her past memberships in the University Academic Senate and Executive Committee, Teaching Committee, and Dee Council. She is currently serving as the Department of Art and Art History Area Head Painting & Drawing. Professor Martinez has served on community boards of directors and councils, Utah Arts Festival Board, South Salt Lake Arts Council, Art Access, Utah Hispanic Women's Institute, Utah Cultural Celebrations Center Foundation, and gubernatorial appointments to the Department of Corrections Advisory Council, and the Utah Correctional Industries Advisory Council. 


V. Kim Martinez is the recipient of the 2003 Salt Lake City Mayors Visual Artist Award, recognizing her community involvement and contribution to the Utah Department of Corrections Women's facility, Veterans Administration, First Step House, and Art Positive! In 2019, she was selected as one of the 15 most influential artists in Utah by 15 Bytes Magazine.