Martha Wirkijowski

August 23, 2023

What if Edward Hopper was a Goth who read manga? Martha Wirkijowski paints nightscapes that Hopper might have painted if he’d had those references. She often depicts buildings at night, from the perspective of an observant outsider. There’s an expectancy to her paintings, an awareness. And like Hopper, Martha has a keen sense of color. But her color goes to eleven. It’s neon. Her website says she paints luminous nightscapes. That’s true, if mild. They glow with phosphorescent green, hot pink, burnt orange and magic hour blue. There’s color in her shadows, color in her whites.

Martha’s subjects are often street scenes, usually Lambertville, NJ. Lambertville’s famous Halloween extravaganza appears in Martha’s oeuvre frequently and fondly. Even when her subject isn’t that spooky holiday her nightscapes have a Gorey-esque quality, with weblike interlacing of tree branches and animated shadows. She has other subjects too, landscapes and cats.

We’ll talk with Martha about her thoroughly modern aesthetic, how she pulls off those neon colors in her nightscapes and about how much manga she does or doesn’t read.

Martha Wirkijowski graduated from Rhode Island School of Design with a BFA in Illustrations. She’s the creator of two graphic novels, Unlucky Sacred Heart Suburb Book One and Sacred Heart Suburb Book One, She’s exhibited broadly, including at Phillip’s Mill Juried Art Show, in Philadelphia Galleries, Brooklyn, and more.

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Illustration of the Phillips' Mill -Artist: Kathie Jankauskus