Martin J. ● Art

selection of abstract paintings

Color on Canvas 2023-present (18 artworks)
Color on Wood 2023 (10 artworks)
Humanity 2022 (3 artworks)
Atmospheric Formations 2022 (7 artworks)
Millet’s Countryside 2022 (27 artworks)
Polychromes 2022 (39 artworks)
Monochromes 2022 (9 artworks)
Multilayer 2022 (4 artworks)
Full Space 2022 (6 artworks)
Unclassified 2022-present


My full name is Martin Jambon. I'm a French artist, programmer, and scientist living in Palo Alto, California. Born in Orléans in 1977, I studied biology and computer science before moving to California in 2004. My art career started accidentally in 2022 after I turned my old kitchen table into a permanent art workstation.

Questions and Answers

What do your paintings mean?

My artworks mean nothing a priori, just like a lake or a grain of sand. They're imagination facilitators. It's important for me that anyone can let themselves perceive what they want without the fear of hitting taboos or forbidden thoughts. By avoiding the possibility of conventional interpretations, I ensure that viewers can't be blamed (or praised) for liking this or that painting.

So, relax and let the painting speak to you.

What do you call the style of your paintings?

I call it emergentism. It's a name I made up to capture the goals of my art more than a particular technique. I suppose my current technique falls into hard-edge painting but I'm not sure if there's more to it than what's in the name. Anyway, I don't think the technique matters much ultimately. If you look at my first paintings from early 2022, they were made with ordinary paintbrushes and acrylic paint and definitely don't qualify as hard-edge painting. Yet, my intent was already to produce something "emergentist" though I didn't have a name for it yet.

The first principle of emergentism is to actively avoid conventional depiction of anything so as to keep everyone's interpretation unique and private. This can be achieved by the use of completely meaningless shapes and patterns ("abstraction") or by the nonsensical combination of otherwise realistic elements (surrealism?). However, I believe that realistic scenes can be painted in an emergentist style. I think Van Gogh and a few other postimpressionists achieved this.

The second principle of emergentism is to create a composition that will be interesting from a variety of perspectives. It's about making artworks that are pleasant to anyone at any point in their lives, whether it rains or shines. One should not get bored due to not having been initiated or due to having seen the same thing too many times before.

In principle, emergentism could apply to all arts. Think of that movie you've watched multiple times and enjoyed differently each time. While rewatching movies many times isn't something most of us have to do, rewatching the same painting regularly happens a lot. It shouldn't get boring quickly like your round-the-mill viral video.

Can I buy a painting?

No. I'm retaining ownership of all my artworks now and in the foreseeable future. Contact me if you'd like to borrow paintings for public display. I'll be looking into offering rentals as well and I'll post details when this option becomes available.

Where can I see your paintings?

When there's an exhibit, I'll post details on Instagram and on this website. Unfortunately, I don't have a dedicated studio that people can visit. The best option is still a virtual visit to this website.

Where can I meet you?

I'm a resident of Palo Alto, California so this is where I usually am. However, I don't have a studio that's open to the public.

Why are you making art?

It's something I've always enjoyed immensely. Why did I start seriously only at the age of 44, you may ask? There are many factors, including having a successful career in engineering but also taking a while to realize that in art, imagination matters more than manual skills.

Who's your favorite artist?

I've been impressed and influenced by the works of many visual artists. If I were pressed to give a short list, it would include William Turner, Gustave Moreau, Vincent van Gogh, and Niki de Saint-Phalle.

What technique do you use?

My process consists in incrementally placing shapes of solid colors on the painting support—canvas or wood panel—until I judge the composition as acceptable from various perspectives. Acrylic paint markers work well for this purpose. This means however I'm limited to a small set of colors and uniform areas. On occasion, I resort to metal leaf which is slower to work with than paint markers but otherwise similar.

How long does it take you to make a painting?

It's hard to tell because I don't paint full-time. For a medium-size painting (50cm wide), the actual painting action takes 4-6 hours and I've been making 3-4 of these per month on the side of my full-time job. This doesn't take into account the preparation, research, experimentation, and other quirks needed to produce something of value.

How do you come up with all these ideas for shapes and colors?

It comes naturally. I place a shape where I feel there should be a certain shape of a certain color. I almost see the painting with the newly-added shape in my mind and I go for it. This usually requires me to be well-rested and not preoccupied with anything else. On top of that, I apply rules of thumb that help me avoid unrecoverable mistakes.

Seeing what others don't would normally be referred to as insanity. In art, it's an advantage. I'm sure some of it is innate. The rest is about encouraging myself to be curious and see beyond the ordinary or the functional. Over the last few years, I've been watching a lot of artworks by diverse successful artists, even by those I don't particularly like. I always find something to learn by observing what others have done and by figuring out why.

Do you sketch out shapes with a pencil before applying color?

No. My abstract compositions grow organically in a single pass so as to combine shape and color simultaneously. The issue is that shape and color work together. It would be harder to draw all the shapes first and the colors later since one affects the perception of the other.

Have you made any really large paintings?

Larger paintings definitely look cool in large spaces but they don't necessarily add artistic value. At worst, it's just extra labor and cost for the artist. Besides, nobody sees the size difference on the internet. My biggest paintings so far are one meter wide. I'll probably go bigger at some point but there's no rush.

Contact Information

Follow me or message me on Instagram, or email me directly at