Kenneth Martin trained as a graphic illustrator and painter. Born in Sheffield, he studied at the School of Art in the city and later at the Royal College of Art in London. It was here that he met Mary Balmford, who later became his wife and with whom he enjoyed a fruitful creative partnership. During the 1930s Martin painted naturalistically, but from 1948 he began studying the theoretical writings of artists, scientists and mathematicians. These theories were used to determine the harmonious composition of his works. Martin began making abstract paintings, and his first kinetic constructions developed from these, around 1951. The art of Paul Klee was also influential, particularly Klee’s use of line.