Cade Martin Finds Balance Through [ee-kwuh-lib-ree-uhm]

Equilibrium is achieved when opposing forces or actions are balanced so that one is not stronger or greater than the other. Seen as an indication of stability, we as a society work to achieve equilibrium within ourselves, in nature and throughout global markets. Cade Martin also works towards equilibrium in his work - seeing it as a necessity for collaboration. Cade's vision through Imagination lends itself to exploring narratives and characters outside of the norm that shows up when we move beyond our comfort zone and explore the unfamiliar. Because of this, his work lets our imagination run wild and asking ourselves "how did he do that?"

His project, [ee-kwuh-lib-ree-uhm], represents what it means to strike true balance when collaborating. Normally Cade is extremely hands on with collaborators, however since he and artist Vincent Serritella work with different media, it left them on their own to create a collective project. This challenged Cade but created extraordinary pieces of art.

Cade traveled to New Orleans to capture images of The Market Street Power Plant — a defunct early 20th Century structure that has always captivated Cade.  Built in 1905 and located on The Mississippi just upriver of the Crescent City Connection, it has been closed since 1973, decaying for 46 years.  

Cade found the juxtaposition of decay and fresh graffiti to represent the spirit of New Orleans and sensed character from every corner of the building, immediately hooking Cade. There was a "palpable history and lost purpose" in the power plant, which Cade wanted to bring alive through a mixture of media with Vincent. Cade photographed the plant and Vincent painted, collaged, glazed and allowed natural elements to decay the image to reveal something new within this historic building. The end result can only be described as finding balance through equilibrium. Read on below to learn more about this project and dynamic partnership.

What did you learn on this project

I am reminded that I love a great adventure and that the true essence of collaboration, no matter what shape it takes, is really just that - an adventure. It’s something I’m always happy to relearn.

As a photographer, my collaborative projects are typically a very hands-on, mind-on process at each step. Yet from the moment Vincent Serritella and I were introduced, it was clear that this collaboration was going to be wholly different, both Vincent and I would be on our own, alone with the images, but linked together by the final artwork. It was a collaboration that pushed me creatively and procedurally. 

In the end, the true essence of a collaboration remains: that the tweaking, testing, introducing something new and beautifying both elevates and reveals. Through a mingling of familiar and unfamiliar, of work that speaks to the beauty that will show itself when we move beyond our comfort zones, that lies in the unfamiliar.

What is a memorable moment?

Finding the spark inside the decaying power plant is definitely a memorable moment. I love New Orleans, and I returned to New Orleans to create images of The Market Street Power Plant — a defunct early 20th Century structure that has had its hooks in me.  Built in 1905 and located on The Mississippi just upriver of the Crescent City Connection, it has been closed since 1973, decaying for 46 years.  

Stepping inside the old building scratched my perpetual adventure itch, and I felt connected with the easy juxtaposition of decay and fresh graffiti, the very spirit of New Orleans baked into the way the past played literal gallery for the now. It was alive with promise. 

I walked the vast factory with curiosity, making images that caught my eye. Character oozed from each corner of the space – its palpable history and lost purpose, the graffiti of artists seeking canvas and a voice, and an air of possibility of how that building could take on new life through Vincent's and my mixing of media. It was sort of like seeing it through two sets of eyes. 

What would you like people to take away after seeing your work? What do you hope people will learn about you and your work after seeing this?

Many of my personal images happen as the result of a habit I have of seizing on an opportunity, or stumbling into something that I’ve heard about or want to know more about. So I guess when they see my work, they are seeing what drives me, what sparks my interest and imagination. And while I do my personal projects selfishly – for me – I hope people see the images and like a great story, want to know more. I hope these images invoke that same curiosity and sense of adventure. 

I grew up reading Tintin, and Tintin adventures are what I always wanted to have. As a kid, comics took me everywhere and the lack of boundaries was and has been very inspirational, with ee-kwuh-lib-ree-uhm, I was gifted a creative project without boundaries and it was a lot of fun. 

The kernel of one personal project can inspire and inform the next. I file all of it under my continuing education and when I find a subject that I want to know more about, I jump in and see where it will take me, what I will learn about myself and from those that I meet and collaborate with along the way.

Follow Cade on Instagram to see more imagery created from chasing characters and stories, and finding beauty in the unfamiliar.