Emanuel began his career as an artist at the age of 13, when he painted his first mural at the Lookout Mountain School for Boys, a facility for juvenile offenders. Two years later, after being incarcerated three times and winning statewide art competitions, Emanuel established a reputation as a exceptionally talented artist.
This notoriety got the attention of Bill Longley, a prominent artist from Santa Fe, New Mexico, who was implementing an arts apprenticeship program for troubled youth. Through Bill’s two year mentorship and commitment to helping Emanuel, he was successful in getting him back in school, graduating and winning two art scholarships.
By the age of 22, Emanuel had worked with the most significant muralist in the world, David A. Siquieros and had done three art works that are now in the permanent collection of the National Museum of American Art Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
As a muralist, painter and sculptor, Emanuel occupies an outstanding status among national and internationally known artists. Since establishing a studio in 1968, Martinez has received national acclaim as a forerunner of the contemporary mural movement in the U.S. He has received prestigious awards for his design capabilities and for engaging young people into art projects requiring high standards of workmanship.
Emanuel is known for personalizing compositions for clients and doing more than 70 public works of art for site-specific environments. He has been featured in over 250 newspaper/magazine articles and 30 published books, including a book written on his art career entitled: “Emanuel Martinez: A Retrospective”.
For a number of years, Emanuel served as a mentor to artist Loisa Jornayvaz, founder of The Art for Kids Emanuel Project and presently works under her sponsorship and leadership. As a professional muralist, Emanuel designs and paints murals with incarcerated young people on walls in facilities throughout the United States. This program provides the youth with creative learning materials and a hands on art experience with a master muralist.