Popovi Da was the youngest son of Maria and Julian Martinez. He grew up surrounded by some of the finest Native American potters and painters on Earth. However, he felt the call of public service early in life and served several terms as Governor of San Ildefonso Pueblo. He was involved in tribal politics and religion most of his life and it didn't leave him much time for anything else.
When it came to art it seems he preferred to be a painter but he also made a few excellent pots and plates. For many years he was his mother's favorite painter. It was during the time Popovi worked with Maria (1956-1971) that they perfected the technique of producing their trademark gunmetal finish. His son, Tony Da, took on from where Popovi left off and elevated Native American ceramic art to a new level.