“A Day in the Life” with Vancouver artist, Martin Murphy

On June 28, 2009, my life changed when I had the deep pleasure of meeting Martin Murphy through mutual friends while attending San Francisco’s Pride festival.

We quickly gravitated toward each other and realized not only were we neighbours, but destined to be instant (best) friends. A fun conversation-filled drive home turned into a blossoming friendship that included our weekend routine of grabbing coffee, taking long walks around the city, and being emerged in each other’s day-to-day lives.

Martin Murphy shared his passions for theatre (he even performed in Canadian productions of Cats and Phantom of the Opera and Sunset Boulevard), arts, his incredible career journey at LucasFilm’s Industrial Light Magic (ILM), and his gift as a true artist. One afternoon Martin asked to paint me (Oil on Canvas: Bliss 2016), as his muse, which I proudly display in my home! Martin’s light-hearted personality, diverse interests and hobbies, and above all, his loyalty and friendship have meant the world to me over the last 13 years. His talents never cease to amaze me and I am truly honoured to be one of his best friends.

Written by Jennifer Bargiela – friend

Martin Murphy
I have surrendered my dining area in my little Vancouver condo for a place to paint.
This was varnish day for a few koi pieces.
I usually paint large which unfortunately means renting vehicles to transport paintings. I either have to paint smaller or buy a larger vehicle.
Martin Murphy
I’m standing in front of ’Nine Thirty Two’ at ArtRich 2021. It’s a still life oil on canvas of some of my mother’s antiques.
Martin Murphy
A few years back at Industrial Light and Magic, doing some motion capture. With a dance background, I was asked to help out with some shots for a few films which I was thrilled to do.
Standing in front of some of my texture work at the opening of Jurassic World in Los Angeles in 2015.
When your friends text you to go kayaking you drop everything and go. The scenery in BC is beautiful.
Martin Murphy
My happy place: painting in my condo.

Which ‘hood are you in?

I live right on the edge of Chinatown in Vancouver. In fact, the historic Chinatown gates are just outside my condo windows.

What do you do?

Short answer: Artist.

Long answer: I went to art school in the ’80s (OCAD University, back then it was just OCA) left in my final year to train as a dancer. When I was younger I was always juggling between training as a dancer and visual arts but after landing my first job performing in Nice, France for a summer the theatre bug won out. That incredible experience was the jumping-off point for 15 years as a performer in Canada and some cities in the US. In my spare time, I was still painting portrait commissions and odd art jobs with my computer which I travelled with on tour so when it came time to leave theatre I had a good foundation to get back into the art world.

After a few years, I was lucky enough to land a job at LucasFilm’s Industrial Light and Magic in San Francisco working on some iconic films such as Star Wars, Jurassic World, Pirates of the Caribbean, as a Digital Artist and Supervisor. After 14 and a half years I moved back to Canada in 2017 to work two more years for ILM before eventually focusing full-time on my own art.

What are you currently working on?

I’m currently building a portfolio of oil on canvas paintings. I love to paint figures, still-life, and I have a fascination with koi. I have a few large prints available on my website.

Where can we find your work?

You can find my latest work on my website or my Instagram.

May 5th-8th you can check out my work at Art Vancouver 2022 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.