AUSTIN (KXAN) — “I just watched everybody simultaneously go through this horrible, horrible struggle,” local artist Jeremy Martinez said.
As a caricaturist pushing 10 years in Austin, Martinez has worked many live events, especially SXSW. So when COVID-19 abruptly closed such festivals this year, he, like many others, lost out on opportunities to make a living.
It’s a blow that has had devastating consequences around town.
“Watching all of my favorite venues and restaurants close down, and then watching artist-friends suffer and try to figure out how they’re gonna pay their next bill, it was a terribly frustrating thing,” Martinez said.
Frustrated but wanting to contribute, “Jeremy The Artist,” which he is known by locally, sought ways to help and give back. His searches landed him a phone call about t-shirts. Local company Outhouse Designs partnered with GSD&M asking artists to submit designs months ago for a campaign.
“I designed a chupacabra, which is a Tex-Mex, Mexican folklore beast. It’s a vampire-alien creature and it’s one of my favorite things. I love folklore and monsters and cryptids, but they wanted something that represented Austin and represented me as an artist, I thought that was perfect – a creature that some people know about, that’s Texan. It’s not an armadillo or a bat, so I was just happy to come up with something I was happy to draw,” Martinez said.
‘It’s how Austin survives COVID-19 and comes out stronger‘
Every Monday, a new “Keep Austin Weird” T-shirt is released to the public. Martinez’s is the 12th. Each turns 100% profits for COVID-19 relief:
- All Together ATX
- Austin Creative Alliance’s Artists Emergency Relief Fund
- Central Texas Food Bank
- Health Alliance for Austin Musicians
- Stand with Austin Fund
For Martinez, the feedback touched him.
It’s such a wonderful feeling, even that, they’re contributing because of me, in my favor, in support of me as an artist; also, all the profits go to all of these different charities. To be a part of something where I’m helping to contribute to small business, to the Austin Creative Alliance, to HAAM, to the Central Texas Food Bank – it’s a great feeling. I feel like as a local now, it’s something I needed to do, figure out a way to help and I’m glad just to be a part of it and hope to find more ways to be a part of it, of the solution we’re all working on.Jeremy Matinez
If you’re interested in buying his limited-edition shirt, you can do so on the organization’s website. It’s only available until Aug. 10, at 11:59 a.m. On the same site, you can also tip, donate or get involved with groups to further the cause.