Visual Artist, Digital VJ, Performer, Lecturer, Innovator…these are just a few of the words that come to mind when we think of the one and only, Shantell Martin. At the young age of 8 or 9, little Shantell began to of doodling in the back of school books, from there on she couldn’t put her pen down. When she draws she really doesn’t take a literal approach to the lines that she creates, instead she allows her gut and intuition to lead her, and feels like most of the time she’s just following her pen.
A London native, Shantell has lived in the UK, Japan and most recently resides in Brooklyn, New York. Shantell is a graduate of the Central St. Martins School of Art and has lead interactive workshops on digital painting creativity around the world. The world is literally her canvas as she not only takes to paper when she illustrates, but tends to venture onto skin (Yep, people), walls of her bedroom (as featured in the NY Times), on apparel, on cars, and of course digital screens.Pictured: Shantell’s bedroom as featured in the NY Times, Her digital work with Fashion Photographer Nigel Baker, An example of her work on skin and a pair of her own hi-top sneakers.
Fresh from conducting a workshop at the Eyeo Festival in Minneapolis, MN, Shantell has also performed live at various venues in New York, St Petersburg, Tokyo, and Geneva. Over the past 8 years, Shantell has been “working on a body of work, it’s a collection of 24 books, these very long, detailed, are almost diary-istic sketchbooks” that she wants to give more of a narrative possibly turn them into a series of books or volumes of books. It may be an understatement to say that Shantell is in high demand and very busy. So, with that being said, we were so honored that she took a moment during her travels to Austria last month, to respond to our interview.
VF: Describe yourself using 4 words
SM: Tidy, focused, free, determined
VF: What three items would you never leave home without?
SM: A comb, a pen, debit card
VF: How do you define your personal style.
SM: I’m a visual person, style, fashion, clothes extra are more of a feeling – that feel right or they don’t. For me a t-shirt, jeans or shorts and a pair of trainers feels pretty spot on.
VF: Who do you admire, or who inspires you within the art/fashion world (dead or alive)?
SM: Going to be more general here – People that are obsessed with that thing they do so well be it art, design, fashion, accounting, whatever. Those who are passionate about moving forward and progressing their skills and story, those who show great strength, compassion and generosity.
VF: Do you have any favorite shoe designer/fashion designer/artist/poet/etc?
SM: Big fan of the adidas original x ransom kicks, The Cole Haan Wingtips even though I don’t have a pair yet, 3×1 custom jeans, and b wood T-shirts. Artists Daisuke Sakaguchi, kristjana Williams, niky niky, Jon Burgerman and a bunch more.
VF: Where does your personal inspiration come from?
SM: I find as I get older that I’m more inspired and most productive when I’m focusing on the details of my health and well-being, what I mean by that is when my focus is on eating well, sleeping early and regularly, drinking well, surrounding myself with positive people, passionate people the more I feel inspired to create – my work is in a way a by-product of being in a good calm place.
VF: Does music inspire you to create/design?
SM: Music its self doesn’t inspire me to create or design, but it does steer me in a different directions. For example the results of drawing to classical music are very different to the results of drawing along or with heavy metal.
VF: What type of music are you currently into/listening to?
SM: Recently I’m listening to a lot of MNP – A project that I’m working on with cellist Anna Callner.
VF: How did you get into this (business/industry)?
SM: It’s in my Blood.
VF: Tell us about your new collection/new venture, how did the idea for these pieces come about?
SM: The newest collection is a collection of 15 hand drawn sweaters………. The initial idea started while talking to my very talented friend in London about fashion and art.
VF: What is your vision for your new line/your work?
SM: An extension of my artwork – By making the work wearable it’s given a new breath of life with its new owner.
VF: What shows/gigs/promotions do you plan on doing this year?
SM: This year I’m focusing much more of building a body of work, so won’t be performing as much.
VF: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
SM: More organized… Able to help others create…. Able to cook and swim
VF: What is your favorite quote or what is a statement/mantra you try to live by?
SM: DOless BEmore