Published by HENI Publishing. Text by Katharine Stout. Interview by Hans Ulrich Obrist.
The graffiti-like art of Shantell Martin has, for more than a decade, captivated audiences around the world with its intuitive energy, skill and bravura. Using a highly personalized language of characters, faces, creatures and messages and often rendering her large-scale black and white drawings live in front of an audience, Martin invites viewers to actively engage in her creative process. Using drawing as a physical stream-of-consciousness, her work is characterized by a unique freedom, expressed through the possibilities of her chosen canvas—whether that be a piece of paper or a textile, a sculptural surface, a wall or a screen. Bridging the fine art and commercial worlds since her beginnings making live performance drawings in the mega clubs of Tokyo, Martin navigates different creative worlds to interrogate and play with the roles of artist and viewer in a uniquely charming, accessible style. This monograph charts, for the first time, the career of this prolific and popular artist, including early pieces such as “X Dot Martin” (a 2003 collaboration between the artist and her grandmother on over 70 pieces of embroidery), large-scale murals and commissions and collaborations with museums, technical institutes, musicians and fashion brands. London-born, New York–based artist Shantell Martin (born 1980) is best known for her signature black-and-white drawings. She has had solo shows at 92Y Gallery and the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, New York. Martin has collaborated with brands such as Nike, Max Mara and Tiffany & Co., as well as with the New York City Ballet and Kendrick Lamar.