Master Sergeant (Retired) Martin J. Cervantez enlisted in the Army Signal Corps in July 1986 as an 81E, Illustrator. During his first enlistment he was assigned to Company A, 6th Psychological Operations Battalion. He was later detailed to the then recently reactivated 9th Psychological Operations Battalion, which deployed in support of Operations DESERT SHIELD and DESERT STORM while attached to the 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces Regiment.
His assignments include Graphics NCOIC for the, S-3 Operations, HHD, 509th Signal Battalion at Camp Darby, Italy from November 1991 to July 1992 and later with the 7th Signal Brigade in Karlsruhe, Germany from December 1992 to April 1994. He was selected by the Department of the Army to be a Drill Sergeant and successfully completed two years of drill sergeant duty for Basic Combat Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina.
In June 2000, while serving as platoon sergeant for 2d Platoon, 55th Signal Company, he led Combat Camera teams during a deployment to Kosovo and again as the Joint Combat Camera Team NCOIC for Reception, Staging, Onward Movement and Integration (RSOI)/Foal Eagle 2002. He later served as First Sergeant for Company B, 3rd Psychological Operations Battalion from September 2002 until March 2005. While serving in this position, he deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism to Iraq and Afghanistan. He also saw duty as a branch manager at the Army Human Resources Command in Alexandria, Virginia. He attended the United States Army Sergeant’s Major Academy’s nine month resident Sergeant Major Course and graduated in May 2008 with Class 58.
He is a former Artist in Residence at the U.S. Army Center of Military History where he was responsible for capturing the Army’s history through art. He deployed to Afghanistan in support of OPERATION ENDURING FREEDOM from February to April 2011 and from September to December 2008. He was also deployed in support of Operation UNIFIED RESPONSE in Haiti from January-February 2010. During these deployments he produced artwork that visually recorded Soldiers’ experiences the Army’s achievements.
Two of his oil paintings were recently featured in the National Constitution Center’s public exhibition “Art of the American Soldier” in Philadelphia. Master Sergeant Cervantez is a self-taught artist who has created art since he was a child.
Cervantez is now retired from the Army, and is dedicated to creating art full time, and promoting veteran arts programs, and was the first Military Veteran Artist in Residence at the Workhouse Arts Center. He is also involved with veteran’s art programs at the USO Ft Belvoir, and Walter Reed; Warrior Writers from Philadelphia, and Combat Paper New Jersey. Martin has attended many programs both as a patient, then as a facilitator where he gives workshops on painting.
“I try to create a connection with the viewer that allows them to feel as if they are part of the scene, or that they can walk right in and join the situation. I create a sense of depth and space that intrigues curiosity, as well as conversation. My military art is meant to be a story telling device, and invoke stories to be shared with friends, family, and the public.” In 2017, Martin was nominated for, and unanimously voted the winner of the Kathleen Seefeldt Award for Best Artist 2017. He was recognized publicly at the annual Seefeldt Awards Dinner, and continues to make an impact on the local community. Martin has taught, and mentored hundreds of active duty service members, veterans, and members of the community how to make art, and exhibit their work. He gives artists the tools to become successful in the art world, should they desire to make art a career.
Mr. Cervantez is currently assisting the development of a second veteran arts program for Center for the Arts, Manassas, Virginia. He has recently lectured at George Washington University, George Mason University, Leadership Prince William County, and the Marine Corps Museum. Martin advocates for veterans, and veteran arts programs, and he is a sought after resource for veterans, and veteran groups. Martin is currently a board member of Prince William Arts Council, and a recently appointed resident artist for the Clearbrook Center for the Arts.
Martin continues to create hundreds of pieces of art to keep up with the demand of his young, successful collectors. Martin is also teaching art in what many say is the most liberating, challenging, and fun classes you can take at Workhouse Arts Center! He’s inspired by the masters of modern art who paved the way for the rest of the art world to follow; Martin is also a trailblazing artist who has found that textures can ultimately define his vision, and is immersed deeply with assemblage art.
Cervantez is currently in Wiesbaden, Germany to paint a mural for the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) commemorating the 70th Anniversary of the Berlin Airlift.