was born in Gilfach Goch (District Bridgend), a small mining village in south Wales and lived in England, Wales, France and the Netherlands.
Most of his youth was spent in the Netherlands interspersed with regular prolonged periods in Wales. The Dutch part of his family originates from Friesland. Wales and Friesland are two cultures each with their own language and identity. Both countries have the sea as one of their boundaries. In time these became important elements for him both physically as well as spiritually.
Since childhood he had the feeling and knowledge that he needed to inform himself cross culturally in literature, music and religion. In the early years this was a focal point and in his search he met with people who had an impact on his life.
The introduction to eastern philosophies, Yoga, the music of the Arab world, Japan, India and meditation all played an important part in his development.
His formal art training took place in the Netherlands and was initially in Design & Illustration (Akademie voor Beeldende Kunst en Kunstnijverheid,Arnhem) & subsequently in Architectural Art & Design and Fine Art graduating from the Akademie voor Kunst & Industrie, AKI in Enschede. Since then he has worked as a professional artist, occupying studios in Diepenveen and Holten in the Netherlands. That period up to 1973 was in retrospect clearly one of preparation. It was followed by the offer to take up the post of Head of Art & Design at the United World College of the Atlantic, which was starting with the International Baccalaureate programme. Marten and his wife Reina also became Houseparents for a period of 8 years which was equally exciting for their daughters Pamela and Monique (both alumni of Atlantic College) . The Design & Craft Service was set up with help of AC Alumni during this period and Reina was closely involved teaching machine knitting to both service and art students.
Throughout the 30 years in Wales he occupied studios in Gileston and on the campus of Atlantic College.
‘Ever since I can remember I have felt the need to express myself through drawing and painting. Drawing to me is like breathing, a basic necessity to live. It is functional in the sense that it is the perfect flexible discipline. The size of the work can vary in relation to the working conditions as well as the space available “.
This was to be of prime importance in the exciting years at Atlantic College where meetings, seminars and lectures also became sources of inspiration, which found their residue in a multitude of drawings and paintings.
Returning to Wales and working for almost thirty years in this vibrant multicultural community with young people from over 100 countries has had a profound and lasting impact on his development as a person and as an artist.
The Welsh landscape, rugged coastline, the conflict between sea and land as well as that between people and different cultures are important sources of inspiration. The United World College community which now extends to 17 colleges in countries spread over the world has and will always be a barometer for a world in flux. Regular one person and group exhibitions since 1965 have now well passed the hundred mark.
Since summer 2002 he lives and works in the Netherlands and is actively involved with the Cultureel Comité Neder-Betuwe. The beautiful area of the Betuwe, between the rivers Waal and Neder-Rijn, within view of the Grebbeberg near Rhenen reminds him of Wales and is visually both stimulating and inspiring.