Ernel Martinez was born in Belize and was raised in South Central Los Angeles and Detroit. He holds a BFA from Kutztown University and an MFA from the University of Pennsylvania. Since 2003, Martinez has been producing public art in the city of Philadelphia, and has worked with various nonprofits and social services to provide art to disenfranchised youth. In 2011, Martinez helped to found AMBER Art & Design, a collective of five Philadelphia-based public artists. His practice focuses on creative methods that give urban communities the tools to tell their stories through art making. Martinez uses their stories as a framework to produce social practice artwork that engages and builds dialogue.