Born in Bagé, Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil, Sylvia Martins graduated in Visual Communications in Rio de Janeiro. In 1979 she moved to New York to study at the School of Visual Arts and with Richard Pousette-Dart at the Art Students League. He encouraged her to further explore the possibilities of personal and spiritual direction in her creative development. 

Her paintings and drawings are near abstractions that evoke images from nature and organic forms. Her work is heavily informed by travel; the influences include ethnic design, anthropology, decorative arts and rituals, among other things. Martins doesn’t follow tendencies, the focus is on painting itself. Lately she has been experimenting with digital photography exploring textures and playing with image and color. Her work can be found in numerous public and private collections throughout South America, Europe, Asia and the United States. Sylvia currently lives and works between New York City and Rio de Janeiro.