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RADICAL INTENT, Gallery 151, NYC, Feb 2015

2015 January 21
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by Sebastian



RadicalIntentDownload radicalintent_flier.

3 Makers, UNC Asheville, March 2015

2015 January 20
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by Sebastian

MarioThis guy, his buddy, Kermit the Frog, and some other former-Baltimore-stair-steps will be headed to the S. Tucker Cooke Gallery at UNC Asheville for the show “3 Makers,” with Jackson Martin & Stacy Lee Webber.

Opening reception, Thursday, March 5 th, 6-8pm, preceded by my artist talk at 5pm in the Humanities Lecture Hall.

HAND/MADE, Decker Gallery, MICA, Feb 2015

2015 January 15
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by Sebastian




Opening Reception Friday, February 6th, 5-8pm

MICA’s Decker Gallery, Fox Building, 1301 W Mount Royal Ave, Baltimore, Maryland 21217


Sebastian’s recent work, Icon: Sam the Eagle, will be on display with the tools and models used for it’s creation.

MICA’s Exhibition Development Seminar (EDS) students present HAND / MADE, an art show juxtaposing an original 19th-century marble sculpture by artist and former MICA student William Henry Rinehart with 3-D, performance and video works by contemporary sculptors and interdisciplinary artists. Exhibited in MICA’s Fox Building: Decker Gallery (1303 W. Mount Royal Ave.) from Friday, Jan. 30-Sunday, March 15HAND / MADE makes vital connections between traditional methods employed by artists working with 19th-century studio artisan teams and collaborative practices in contemporary studios. A reception will take place Friday, Feb. 6, 5-8 p.m.

HAND / MADE explores how sculptures are seldom the result of a simple transaction between a single artist, an idea and a given medium,” said EDS co-curator and class spokesperson Adenike Adelekan ’15 (art history, theory, and criticism). “The methods and practices that are sometimes used when creating a sculpture can involve multiple people beyond the artist. This can cause tension regarding the complex issue of authorship. Our exhibition aims to investigate this on-going discussion.”

The EDS class will show work from six contemporary artists, all with ties to MICA, of which five have been commissioned for new work. Fiber faculty member Annet Couwenberg,Nancy Daly ’11 (Photographic & Electronic Media), Director of the Rinehart School of Sculpture Maren HassingerRichard Vosseller ’95 (general fine arts) and Megan Van Wagoner ’00 (Mount Royal School of Art) are creating works that respond to Rinehart’s most reproduced sculpture, Sleeping Children. Each artist has been asked to reflect on the relationship between individual creative expression and artistic collaboration-and what it means when others’ labor is required to realize an artwork. MICA’s own Sleeping Childrenwill be displayed alongside the commissioned pieces, allowing the audience to draw connections from the past to the present. Also on display will be contemporary marble work by Sebastian Martorana ’08 (Rinehart School of Sculpture), with his tools and maquettes (or scale models) to help viewers visualize the traditional carving process.



Some Social Media

2014 December 8
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by Sebastian

With the incredibly generous help of my wife I recently started an Instagram account in addition to the existing Facebook Page. To be honest, these stay far more current than the website, simply because they operate right out of my iPhone– which lives in my pocket–in my studio.    Ya know– just like Michaelangelo and Bernini . . .  right?

20141208_SocialMediaIcons_Facebook 20141208_SocialMediaIcons_Instagram

A New Icon: Sam

2014 December 4
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I was recently asked by pair of supportive collectors to revisit a series I began a few years ago. The latest in the Icon Series is based on, American Icon and Muppet, Sam the Eagle.

Sam occupies a unique place in the wacky crowd that is the Muppets. He stands in as the ironic voice of conservatism and reason against the backdrop of frenetic chaos. Some of my first memories of the Muppets involve Sam as a disgruntled participant  in the Tit Willow song, deadpanning the part of the Dicky Bird– I had it on vinyl for my Fisher Price turntable.

I feel that Sam was kind of the vehicle for the writers to speak slyly against censors and non-progressives in a way that was smart, funny, wry satire before The Daily Show  and, ultimately, The Colbert Report perfected it. In a double-headed manner Sam expounds the necessity of “the noble eagle, the good old values, the wisdom of the Founding Fathers” in a way that is seen by certain political groups– albeit with out the irony.  Throughout Sam’s tenure as a kind of disapproving-uncle-figure he avoided ever becoming a villain (more recently playing the role of a hero in the latest Muppet movie). So I chose to depict him in the style of Emperor Hadrian, one of the more benevolent (relatively speaking), if not initially bumbling, rulers of the Roman Empire.

Sam actually appeared for the first time in 1975 in the second Muppet Show: Sex and Violence, the series’ second pilot. Note: in the background, often over Sam’s right shoulder, there is a marble bust that is conspicuously attired with random bits of costuming each time it appears in the shot– hah!  Classic!

Time for some Professional Photography

2014 December 2
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by Sebastian

So, I decided that while I may be an artist, I am definitely no photographer. I’ve been flat out trying to get some pieces completed for looming delivery dates– it was time to bring in a pro. So I was really stoked to get Geoff Graham to come down to my studio to photo document the latest and a few older pieces too. See below. If you are in need of some really high quality photos, I strongly recommend!

Strange Bedfellows – Show Opening

2014 October 9
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by Sebastian

Strange Bedfellows Web Image

October 17 – November 23, 2014

Strange Bedfellows Curated by Blair Murphy


Friday, October 17, 2014, 7-9pm


Kaplan Gallery, 2nd floor,VisArts at Rockville 155 Gibbs Street, Rockville, MD 20850





A group exhibition about intimacy, Strange Bedfellows explores the way proximity to others–whether physical, emotional, or intellectual–shapes our individual identities, civic life, technological development, and physical spaces.


Ingrid Burrington (Brooklyn, NY), Bean Gilsdorf (San Francisco, CA), Katie Hargrave (Chattanooga, TN), Leslie Holt (Hyattsville, MD), Benjamin Kelley (Baltimore, MD), Jennifer Levonian (Philadelphia, PA), A. Moon (Silver Spring, MD), Sebastian Martorana (Baltimore, MD), Dustin Nelson (Astoria, NY), Jacob Rhodes (Brooklyn, NY), Stephanie Williams (Alexandria, VA), Jenny Walton (Washington, DC).


The word intimacy refers most often to human relationships, acting as a metric of the physical closeness, emotional bonds, or personal knowledge shared by two people. It can describe the accumulation of knowledge about complex topics or–as in the phrase intimately aware–a familiarity with difficult truths. While intimacy is often reciprocal, it’s not unusual to be bound tightly to objects, people, or knowledge we would prefer to avoid or forget.

Highlighting artists whose work touches on intimacy in complex and unexpected ways, Strange Bedfellows will explore the way proximity to others–whether physical, emotional or intellectual—shapes our individual identities, civic life, technological development, and physical spaces.



Blair Murphy is a curator, writer, and cultural worker based in New York City and a 2014-2015 Helena Rubenstein Curatorial Fellow of the Whitney Independent Study Program. Before moving to New York, she spent seven years in Washington, DC working as an administrative jack-of-all-trades for various arts organizations, including Washington Project for the Arts (WPA), DC Arts Center (DCAC), and Provisions Library. She was Program Director at WPA from 2011 to 2013 and a curator with Sparkplug, an artist collective sponsored by DCAC, from 2008 through 2011. As a member of the collective BFAMFAPhD she collaborates with other concerned cultural workers to examine the impact of debt and precarity on the lives of creative people. She holds a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MA from Georgetown University.

Bases for Ray Lewis and Johnny U at M&T Bank Stadium

2014 September 4
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Applying gold leaf to the granite lettering

Just unveiled in front of the Raven’s M & T Bank Stadium— the base for the new Ray Lewis Statue and the Moved Johnny Unitas statues, by sculptor Fred Kail, were fabricated and installed by Hilgartner Natural Stone Company. I was in charge of the bling. Try not to be blinded by the 23 karat gilded lettering while you drive by the stadium.

Baby Steps

2014 August 1
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by Sebastian

Obviously, as a kind of extension of the Soft Step Series, I wanted to make a sort of mini-stoop that would be more appropriate for my (then) one year old son. He loves to stoop with us, but his feet dangle uncomfortably off the full size stair steps. To be fair, at almost two years old now, he has probably already outgrown the scale of this piece . . .

I thought is doing this when I saw how taken he with a child-size recliner at a house we stayed at on vacation. Why not make a child-size stoop? Ultimately, we got him his own child-size recliner, chocolate faux-leather. The treads and cheek walls of this piece are made from salvaged pieces of stone from our neighborhood, and the seams and polished finished are based on his little chair.

Salvaged Marble Stoops: Now Permanent Game Tables

2014 July 1
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by Sebastian
Sebastian Martorana

Link to the Baltimore Sun’s article about this piece by Meredith Cohn. Photo Credit: Al Drago

This public art piece is part of the redevelopment project in the Barclay neighborhood. I was contacted by the sculpture department at MICA who was asked by the developer, Telesis Corp, to assist with reincorporating the salvaged marble stoops from the neighborhood back into the project in an artistic way.  Primary in my thought process was allowing this new neighborhood to have a physical and psychological connection to its historic past. These stair treads are once again acting as a location for communal gathering for people of all ages and backgrounds. The placement of the stone was planned as to allow, for the tallest likely person, while still being usable for the shortest, keeping children in mind. The material and the fact that the checkered game surface is etched directly into the face of the stone means that they are permanent. (you can see pictures of the process below) 

Though the timeline did not allow for the most complex of sculptural concepts or structures here, sometimes simple is beautiful. I am very excited to have been able to incorporate this piece of Baltimore’s past  into a project for its future. I have larger and more intricate ideas for art to be included in the next phase of this development, which will include another larger adjacent park. However, I am very pleased that this piece has been positively received by the community so far.  I hope that it will continue to be the kind of art piece that serves the aesthetic, cultural and functional needs of the community, becoming a destination that the neighborhood can be proud of.

They are located on Worsley St, between, Barclay St and Greenmount Ave.