A childhood art class that lead to a life of success


Adrian Alcaraz

As a 16 year-old art prodigy CHS’s new art teacher Richard Martin never thought he’d make it big but later got multiple job offers by the man behind Marvel and ended up selling his artwork all over the world.


Martin had to decline the offer since the job was in New York and he was only 16 at the time.

Martin would participate in art shows as a child and often won ribbons at the shows.

Lee had told Martin to draw everything he sees, make it as realistic as possible and never stop drawing.


Martin put drawing aside to focus on his degree in college for business education. He picked the pencil back up because he wanted to draw what he saw under the microscope better. When he met his wife he got back into the more artistic side. They got married in 1977 and have been together since. After college Martin drove a truck and would sell artwork at small street show on weekends with his wife.


During that time Martin got in contact with Stan Lee again for a job. Martin got a call within 20 minutes of sending the email. Lee was very excited to hear from him again and offered him another job as a background designer in New York.


“I thought this was cool I was going to be a background artist but I have to move myself and my wife to New York.” said Martin

Martin explaining the semester final to his Ceramics 1 class.

Adrian Alcaraz

Martins wife told him no. The problem was she had never left Arizona, she didn’t want to leave her parents especially since her father just had a heart attack. A week later Martin’s wife ended up telling him she was pregnant.


Since he had to turn the job down at Marvel, he applied at Disney to work in their animation department, but it was the same deal: he would have to move his family to Anaheim, California, and his wife said no.


Martin and his family stayed in Arizona he drove a truck to feed his family and sold artwork with his wife on the weekends. They joined every art club they could find just to sell artwork at their shows.


“Our very first art show together we sold out, made about $35 on just the first day and I put all the money into more frames so we could go back and sell more. It was a three days show and we sold out every day,” Martin says.


Martin was able to quit his trucking job and made a living off of selling their art and raised their first two children. Once their kids reached teenhood Martin and his wife went to a wholesale business opposed to retail and the shows.


“We would do 32-36 shows a year and the shows would be outside that lasted  three to ten days depending on the show, you’d be in a temporary booth or display and would sell your work, we made a couple thousand dollars per show.” Martin said.


Martin says it was a lot of fun for him and his family , he said it was just the climate the economy was good and things were going well they did that for a few years.

“The wholesale was nice for us because we were able to stay in one place more often and sold our work to people all over the world,” Martin said.


Martin’s work was presented through the gift trades and big companies like Dillards, Diamonds, J.C. Penney and Costco. Their artwork went to many people like a ballet company in London had bought some of Martins art work.


“When we had our last baby, we sold our business to raise her differently, because you can only raise a child once, you can start a new business anytime you want and she was more academic. We are very proud of her,” says Martin


In 2000, Martin’s wife sent him on an interview. Martin thought it was another law firms office to take care of the computers but it was a school, Arizona Institute of Business and Technology. The dean wanted Martin to teach the computer courses there, so Martin took the job to give it a shot. He stayed for five years .


While Martin was working on his Masters degree in 2006 he got a job as a ceramics teacher at Bourgade Catholic and all the computer art classes. Martin only stayed at Bourgade for a year because Saint Marys offered him over 30% more pay as the Director of Technology. He also taught Hypertext Markup Language a computer programing class for the internet there.


Martin started missing the world of art in 2008 he’s been looking for an art position at schools but since there was a budget cut many schools couldn’t afford art teachers or courses. He kept his options open for a while and interviewed at many places. When CHS contacted him he was just delighted that it was this far out so he took the offer.

“Honestly, to say the truth, I’m so glad to be here. The student body here is wonderful, it’s a great bunch of kids.”

“Honestly to say the truth, I’m so glad to be here the student body here is wonderful, it’s a great bunch of kids. The administration here is wonderful I’m so pleased to be here, I just can’t tell you,” Martin said.


Although art was introduced as a form of busy work it sparked a long life of success in the art industry for Martin.