Creative force Shantell Martin on life from London to New York.

Creative force Shantell Martin on life from London to New York.

Shantell is a London native based in New York, via five years in Tokyo. Known for bringing a live audience into her work, she finds canvases on everything from walls, people, planes, cars or clothes. She has featured in publications, galleries and collaborations around the globe including the Brooklyn Museum, Art Basil Miami with Kendrick Lamar, Bata Shoe Museum, Fast Company, New York Times and Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo New York. We spoke to Shantell on her creative life abroad and what it has meant for her work.

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ON WHERE YOU’RE FROM

London, UK. 

ON WHERE YOU’RE LIVING

I live in Jersey City and Williamsburg. I found a beautiful apartment in Jersey City close to my art studio.

ON YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH NEW YORK

 At first it was like a roller coaster, lots of ups and downs. Now it feels like a real home base.

 

Shantell Martin creating a giant wall artwork for New York Fashion Week. Photos courtesy Shantell Martin

ON NEW YORK IN ONE WORD

Loud.

ON WHAT INSPIRES YOU IN NEW YORK CULTURE

It’s always the people you meet here who come here and come from so many different backgrounds. I guess I’m really inspired by what’s going on in technology and how storytellers are finding ways to use it but not in a contrived way that makes their work feel less personal.

New York taught me to be bigger and bolder, because here you kind of have to be in order to survive and thrive.

ON HOW LIFE IN NEW CULTURES INSPIRE YOU

Again, it’s the people. I think different types of people gravitate to different places, but in that space, you get to really learn about yourself.

ON WHETHER YOU FEEL THE INFLUENCE OF TOKYO AND NEW YORK IN YOUR WORK

Absolutely. I think Japan taught me about patience and discipline and that is reflective in the more detailed work I did at that time, but I think there was also this really beautiful exploration of experimentation that I have carried with me to New York. New York taught me to be bigger and bolder, because here you kind of have to be in order to survive and thrive.

 

Above: ‘Charge Yourself’, an immersive installation at Chandran Gallery, SF. Below: Live performance collaboration with Kendrick Lamar for Art Basil Miami. Photos courtesy Shantell Martin

ON HOW NEW YORK PUSHES YOU

New York never stops. There is a constant drive to keep working.

ON CREATIVE INSPIRATION

I try to spend time with my friends who are artists, collaborate, make art or music. But I can also find that staying home or going to my studio to reconnect with my own thoughts and my own inspiration is sometimes what I need most.

I think different types of people gravitate to different places, but in that space, you get to really learn about yourself.

ON SOMETHING GOOD TO KNOW WHEN MOVING TO NEW YORK

I would say don’t move here straight away. Date the city first. So then there isn’t any real surprises. It’s like any other relationship… take your time getting to know it.

 

Above: Shantell Martin x Puma Collection, 2018. Below: Immersive artwork. Photos courtesy of Shantell Martin

ON GOOD PEOPLE WATCHING

Union Square

ON A FAVORITE PLACE TOP SEE NEW CREATIVE WORK

Friends studios or one-off pop-ups.

ON SOMETHING FROM THE UK YOU NEED A FIX OF IN NEW YORK 

British biscuits, especially chocolate hobnobs.

 

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Nuggets in this interview

neighborhoods

Jersey City

"I found a beautiful apartment in Jersey City close to my art studio".

–Shantell Martin

inspiration

Union Square, New York

"People watching.. Union Square".

–Shantell Martin

neighborhoods

Williamsberg, Brooklyn

"I live in Jersey City and Williamsburg".

–Shantell Martin

food and drink

Hobnobs

"British biscuits, especially chocolate hobnobs".

–Shantell Martin

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