Monday, June 14, 2010

Martin Burgoyne

In Honor of Martin for Lisa

Martin and Madonna in 1983

As most of you know (and if you don't, you should), Martin Burgoyne was Madonna's best buddy and roommate from her early days in New York. Of her initial two single record deal with Sire Records, he designed the artwork for the second, Burning Up. He also managed her before Freddy DeMann stepped in and was her back up dancer and loyal confidant. For these artistic street urchins, Martin and Madonna were kindred spirits and she took care of him up to his untimely death of AIDS in late 1986.

Madonna's second single, Burning Up, designed by Martin Burgoyne

Lisa Bohart was Martin's best friend growing up in Florida. She has kindly shared her memories and photos with me about her beloved friend. "Martin was an incredible dancer, we went dancing often", says Lisa. They would also scavenge through their favorite thrift store, La France in the Ybor City neighborhood in Tampa, Florida for anything vintage. "He was really into vintage," she fondly recalls. "The store is still there, but moved down the street to a bigger spot. When I go in, it smells exactly like it did when he and I shopped there!"

Martin in his pink vintage swim trunks, Lisa's favorite.

An artist and designer herself, Lisa says, "Martin wanted me to go to Pratt with him, but instead I went to Ringling here in Florida. He and I spent many hours just painting together. I'm 47, he would be also. He and I were quite close, I have letters he wrote me from New York asking me to come and stay with him. He was absolutely the best person you could meet", remembers Lisa. "So true and dear."

Martin and Lisa

This is a sentiment we hear often regarding Martin. On November 30, 1986 when Andy Warhol had heard that his friend Martin died, he wrote this in his diary, "He was such a sweet kid, and so friendly and generous. With his affection, too, he was so generous."

For Madonna fans across the world, Martin will always be loved and adored.

Madonna's ode to Martin:


  1. as a fellow graphic designer, i've always loved martin's designs for m's early singles. burning up is so definitive of that period... 80's memphis design all the way, baby!! he made madonna iconic way before anyone else saw her that way!

  2. This has always been my favourite of Madonna's single sleeves. Burgoyne clearly had the foresight to know that Madonna's face would become THE face of the next decade and beyond... Iconic from the start!

  3. So touching that he died so young :o(

  4. brian - i always loved martins work. and those are the days of graphic design with no adobe illustrator!!!

    oslek - me too, love the burning up single artwork. real deal. xo

    nicolas - way too young. only 23. i would love to have his developed work.

  5. So sad, and what a lovely tribute. Thank you, Lisa, for sharing your cherished memories and photographs.

  6. this is beautiful. i've always wanted to know more about martin. he must have been exceptional...and cute too!

  7. Martin is in my life every day.... he brought me a recording of Madonna's and told me all about her, and that she was going to be a star. He and I did graphics, yes before computers!, we used photocopiers, colored black and white copies, glued them to cigar boxes, wrote lyrics of songs and elaborated with pictures... dressed up, took polaroid pics, no digital then, he would do my makeup at the Dillards makeup counter then out we would go! and just thoroughly enjoy life. Life would be very boring without him having touched it. He's the best...

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  9. I've only just seen this due to being in newborn baby lad for the last 9 months. Thank you for such a lovely tribute to my gorgeous cousin. He inspired me to believe that I could do a creative job - he was the only one in my family who had done anything like that! I was only a teenager when he died - just wish he was still with us.

  10. Jayne, so happy you love it. xo

  11. I need to check my old photo albums and negatives, but I'm pretty sure that I'm the one who took the photo above of Marty in the red check shirt with the sweaty pit. We were visiting his friends in the Village when it was taken. We were soul mates. I love and miss him.