Written By Sam Foye (Pictured, Martin Eaton) | Photo by: Caleb Lee Adams

The elite art world is notoriously homogeneous. Gaining entry requires favored patrons, a lot of luck or overwhelming talent. Privileged few can afford to hone their craft all day and still pay exorbitant New York City rent. But misfortune turned into opportunity for Williamsburg, Brooklyn artist and art director, Martin Eaton, who took covid lockdown time to build a stable of some very unique art and memorable, mainstream stories. 

Closing in on 100, and readying for a coffee table book launch later this year, he’s brought some of his favorites to a fellow kindred spirit in My Gallery NYC owner, Darla Ebanks. A Honduran native who has been in the United States since 1967, she’s a retired artist herself and created a gallery space in Crown Heights for people of color to have a voice in the cloistered art bubble. This is where Mr. Eaton’s brainchild, Tomorrow’s Vig, is exhibiting next week.

Story: Steps

In an early press viewing, I was able to tour his works. Visually, it’s a captivating scene. Bold and striking illustrations, oils, pointillism and what look like 3D renders, amongst others, pull you in all directions. It’s not until you walk up to the eight-foot tall panels of text and get to reading his stories that they have a deeper life.

Halfway through, I noticed a common theme. Women often take center stage. An open member of the LGBT community, there’s a repeated reverence given to his female protagonists. From the lesbian couple slashing at each other’s throats in the back of a vintage Caddy, to his futuristic “IT” girl defining what it means to be a woman, to a frantic mother barreling down the street to save her son, females play pivotal roles and always with agency in almost half of what’s on display. 

I asked the artist if this was accidental or purposeful.

Story: IT

Eaton answered, “I grew up on Sarah Connor reloading that shotgun with one hand, and Ripley strapping on those grenades and flipping that flame thrower over her shoulder to rescue Newt. I gave countless hours over to Tomb Raider, the video game, not the Angelina Jolie movie, and loving it. There’s something about great heroines that resonates with me. Maybe because really good ones are rare.”

And then he paused, and added, “Now, in hindsight, I just wish more of those female heroes had skin that looked like mine.” It’s a sentiment shared by most black Gen X’ers, I imagine. 

Finishing the exhibition, it’s obvious you’re not going to see his pieces at MoMa or the Guggenheim. He proclaims he’s not going for Mark Rothko meets H.G. Wells.

“That’s not my era. I want to create great work that captivates but is something you see beautifully resting on your coffee table and you know plopping down on the sofa after an hour on the subway, you can get a great half-hour escape by just opening to any random page.”

Story: Carved

I’ll give him that. It’s a very effective time killer. And I can tell he’s going for the overwhelming talent path en route to getting himself into that elite art circle. The work was gripping through to the end and definitely has mass, commercial appeal. And his marketing savvy mixing literature and art in a gallery setting is clever and the combination of the two, for this reviewer, was incredibly enjoyable.

Event Details:

Tomorrow’s Vig by Martin Eaton

Opening Reception is Monday March 11th and the showing runs through Wednesday March 13th, 2024
Noon – 8pm

My Gallery NYC is located at 587 Franklin Ave, Brooklyn, NY 11238

Follow the artist: 

Watch his TV pilot, Mott & Spy, on

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