Meet Fifi Martinez- District 8
Updated: Dec 3, 2019
Fifi is a cartoonist, painter, and animator in San Diego California. Since she was a child, she has had a deep love for drawing and reading comics, but did not begin creating them regularly until 2017. Faced with a major devastation, Fifi began to use comics as a means of coping and in hopes to create a career in art. In 2018, she had her first comic published and has been tirelessly creating since. Fifi's work is autobiographical, ranging from vignettes of intimate moments to full-length stories. Through sharing her work, she unexpectedly built community in San Diego, that extended throughout the states and all over the world. Prior to becoming a cartoonist, Fifi was mostly a loner, but through gaining the ability to share her work and connect with others she realized the importance of community.
Fifi spent the first few years of her career traveling and seeking out art communities outside of San Diego. In fall of 2018 she met with Mauro Donate, curator and founder of the Weird Hues collective, to discuss her work and the prospect of a solo exhibition. This meeting had an impact beyond the exhibition itself, as it exposed her to an entire community of artists and creatives that existed in south San Diego .
With a newfound knowledge and fondness of this formerly obscure pocket of fellow working-class artists, Fifi formed a new sense of community within her own city. She began attending shows put on for and by the artists, and events primarily occurring in Southbay San Diego. This particular area of San Diego is and never has been particularly known for its arts, but there is a presence of artists of color who continue to pursue their art and support others in their position despite visibility, resources, and given a space to do so. This type of DIY is the heart of what Fifi has done and continued to do in her own work, being a working-class woman of color herself. She began her career traveling and selling self-published xeroxed zines because she believed so strongly in what she did, and this is what she finds so beautiful about the art and artists in south San Diego.
Currently Fifi is studying Studio art while pursuing comics freelance, is a cartoonist/illustrator for The AjA project, and resides in San Ysidro, California. She is an active member of the DIY art scene in south bay, and continues to tell her story and destigmatize mental health, the ebbs and flows of interpersonal relationships, and the pains of existence through her autobiographical comics. She has been published, spoken on various panels about her work, had a solo exhibition with Weird Hues in April, and continues to amass a following of people who resonate with her work.