Martyn's research explores experimental approaches to graphic questions and develops work through spontaneous and improvised processes referencing historical traditions of hybrid approaches to art and design, particularly those of Black Mountain College 1933-1957 and Cranbrook Academy of Art, Michigan. The focus is to explore speculative work, encompassing the breadth of his practice from entirely self generated provocations to experimental work created ‘in parallel’ with client-based projects, combining creative autonomy and critical investigation, the intention is to investigate how a graphic designer can expand the parameters of the field by consciously taking a transdisciplinary approach.
His primary research aim follows speculative methods of inquiry using a broad range of materials and processes, a combination of those both familiar and unfamiliar to commercial graphic design practice. A secondary aim is to investigate hybrid communication methods in order to think about how graphic design language is delivered in higher educational settings and how processes of teaching and learning can be modified and made more dynamic in a post digital context.
Thinking about language, is a shared preoccupation within graphic design. Martyn's work with text in the projects moves through spectrums of two dimensional forms to moving image forms through to abstracted audio forms prompted by a concern with type as used in motion graphic film titles for example. The work of Lawrence Weiner and his spatial use of type in environmental settings was also an initial influence, a brand of sculpture made of language, which was central to the foundations of conceptual art in the 1960’s. At one stage his research developed into adopting and working with the spoken word as it’s vehicle, often referring to forms of audio signage that mediate a relationship in a kind of ‘noise typography’.