Walking by Cosmo's tent at the East Texas Fair, one cannot help but notice the spray paint flying, the rhythmic music thumping, flashes of fire and an artist, seemingly lost in his own imagination as he creates works of sci-fi based art.

Martin Martinez, the 43-year-old street-performer known as Cosmo, said he first saw spray-paint art in Mexico at the age of 12, and it captured his rather creative imagination.

As a student at a performing arts school, Martinez took acting and art but found he was not very good with brushes and pencils.

When he saw spray can painting again as an older teen, he knew he wanted to take on the hobby. But for Martinez, something was missing.

He added music, and after watching the movie "Cocktail," in which Tom Cruise stars as a bartender who learns to perform for his patrons, Cosmo had the missing ingredient. He would enhance his painting by adding a performing element.

"I knew that was what I needed to do. I needed to perform," he said.

Starting with a blank canvas, Martinez begins spraying paint across the white posterboard in what seems to be a blob of nothing.

But as he moves faster and faster, the blobs of nothing begin to morph into an incredible look inside the artist's mind.

He uses the spray can to shoot a flame onto the canvas and then swipes out the flames. He uses pieces of torn paper towel, pages from a magazine and pieces of poster board as tools in each painting.

"I just create as I go. My mind is always going, and though I know the audience is watching, I am tuned into the music and seeing the painting as it comes to me," he said.

Martinez performs regularly in the historic West End area of Dallas and has worked at the Space and Rocket Center in Alabama, performed for NASA, Homeland Security, schools and colleges all around the nation.

His paintings have sold from $10 to $1,500, but at the East Texas Fair, the price ranges from $20 to $75 for art created right in front of your eyes.

Martinez said this was the first time he has performed in Tyler and will come back next year if asked.

"I have gotten a lot of support over the years, and I must say, Tyler has been very good," he said. "There have been great crowds watching, and everyone seems to be enjoying what they are seeing. For me, that is what the performance is about."

John Sykes, president and chief executive officer of The Park of East Texas, said Cosmo is a big hit at the fair and part of a master plan to draw more attention to the nothern section of the grounds.

Sykes said he plans to ask him back next year.

"He is definitley drawing the crowds, and the crowds love him. He the high-dive act and the sand sculpting was moved up there to bring more attention to the area at the front of the fair," he said.

Martinez said he is a dreamer and, like John Lennon, he was a creator, a visionary whose imagination leads him in every piece of art he creates.

"I just see one big canvas, one big piece of art and as I am painting, it all unfolds before me and each piece is different," he said. "It's more than a way of thinking. It is a way of feeling, an emotion that I let guide me."

As he completed his piece and held it up the crowd, the applause momentarily drowned out the music - the music to which allows Cosmo's imagination to soar.








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