David Martin

Artist in Residence 2023-24


David Martin is a citizen of the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi Indians and used his upbringing in a traditional native family to influence his art. Proudly self-trained, his artistic mediums include oil painting, beadwork, and tattoo art. He is an independent local artist with current appointments serving as a member of the Indigenous Consultation Committee at Notre Dame’s Raclin Murphy Museum of Art and as the 2023-24 Artist-in-Residence at Notre Dame’s Initiative on Race and Resilience.

Martin’s first venture into a career in art started in the late 1980s doing beadwork and dance regalia for other Native American dancers. When working on traditional cultural items for dance, Martin focuses on acknowledging motifs and designs of the past while putting a modern twist on regalia in either materials or artistic execution. Beyond providing dancers with regalia, some of Martin’s complete beadwork pieces and other items have been displayed in the Indiana Statehouse (2011), the South Bend Museum of Art (2012, 2018), and the University of Notre Dame’s Snite Museum of Art (2019).

In 1996 David Martin started tattooing professionally in the Michiana area and in 2013 opened Bicycle Tattoo in Downtown South Bend, the first tattoo shop to open within the city limits. Born from Martin’s focus and skill with photo realistic tattooing, Bicycle Tattoo was also the first to have a hard focus on custom art. Over the course of his career as a tattoo artist, Martin has won many national awards including some from one of the nation's largest and most prestigious tattoo conventions, the Motor City Tattoo Expo. His awards have included: Most Realistic Tattoo (2006), Best Full Back Tattoo (2007, 2008,2015), and Best Full Arm Sleeve (2008). On top of many other tattoo awards Martin has also won Best of Show at the Harvest Moon Tattoo Exp (2005) and Best Large Black and Grey Tattoo at the St. Louis Tattoo Expo (2010). Beyond his commissioned pieces, Martin and his work at Bicycle Tattoo was featured in a short documentary by the Grotto Network in 2017 in response to his pledge to cover up any racist tattoos for free to individuals following the events in Charlottesville, VA. 

Martin began his current artistic focus – oil painting – in 2007. His commissioned work can be found in various places across Michigan and Indiana, including at the South Bend, IN, New Buffalo, MI, Dowagiac, MI and Hartford, MI locations of the Four Winds Casinos. Most recently Martin completed a commission for the Center for Social Concerns’s Arts of Dignity series at the University of Notre Dame and started submitting work to Native Art markets. His 2023 submissions alone have won various awards including: ‘Honorable Mention’ for the oil painting “Michigan Snake Dance” at the Heard Museum in Phoenix, AZ and three awards at the Eiteljorg Museum of Western Art in Indianapolis, IN including ‘Third Place’ for “Red Deer, Michigan Wetland” and ‘First Place’ and ‘Best of Show’ for the oil painting “Portrait of Clarence White.” Currently Martin is preparing for a solo show of oil paintings at the South Bend Museum of Art in January of 2024.

His Potawatomi name, Mamanjigosid Minosino, translates to “Lame Warrior” and was given to him as a teenager while recovering from being hit by a car on his bicycle. Martin’s distinctive style is influenced by the traditional aesthetics of the indigenous people of the Great Lakes as well as his personal love of science fiction and fantasy storytelling. In addition to his art, David is a husband, father, pow-wow singer, dancer, entrepreneur, and paintball enthusiast.