Martin Plaza is the pseudonym of Martin Murphy, a musician with Australian band Mental As Anything, sometime solo musician and accomplished artist.
Plaza was born Martin Murphy on the North Shore of Sydney in 1956. He attended St. Pius X at Chatswood, excelling in sporting and artistic pursuits but showing little interest in other subjects. After attending Hornsby Technical College he switched with fellow student Steve Coburn to what was then known as the East Sydney Technical College in Darlinghurst in the mid-1970s where he met Chris O'Doherty. Around this time he was working part time at KFC. With O'Doherty (later to be known as Reg Mombassa), Coburn and another student, David Twohill, he formed the rock band Mental as Anything in May 1976. The Mentals went on to become one of Australia’s most popular bands touring widely in Australia and overseas.
Whilst not being as acclaimed an artist as Mombassa or Reg's brother Peter O'Doherty, he has certainly become quite prolific in recent years, holding numerous solo exhibitions working with a variety of media and has entered the Archibald Prize, notably with a self-portrait and a portrait of Mombassa. In the mid 1990s his artwork appeared on his own line of Dodgy brand clothing as well as his designs appearing on Mambo clothing. Many of his artworks have had a Hawaiian or Hula flavour.
In the early days of the Mentals the band would often invent pseudonyms for each other that combined an exotic lastname with a common Australian firstname. Martin Plaza was one of the products of that amusement whilst obviously being inspired by the famous Sydney pedestrian mall Martin Place. He has in the past jokingly stated that his full name is Martin DeJesus Plaza.
In 1986, Plaza had a massive hit in Australia with the old Unit 4-2 song "Concrete and Clay", and subsequent solo album Plaza Suite. Further singles were not as successful. In 1991 another planned solo album morphed into a collaboration with former member of The Models James Freud. Entitled Beatfish, it became one of the very first Australian Dance or House flavoured albums. Another surprising turn was his 1994 album Andy's Chest. Comprising almost entirely of Lou Reed covers, it divided the critics at the time. Another collaboration with Freud in 1996 produced the Hawaiian inspired Moondog project however Plaza only appears on some tracks.