This Spring-Summer ’18 sees PUMA collaborate with internationally-acclaimed British-born and New York-based visual artist, Shantell Martin.
Known for her stream-of- consciousness drawings and light projections, Martin combines the whimsical and autobiographical, bridging the gap between fine art, performance art, and everyday life.
As an internationally acclaimed visual artist you are known for “stream-of- consciousness” black-and- white drawings. Why are you attracted to this method of expression? There is something so simple and familiar with drawing, it's very personal and is an art that allows us to take something from our head, directly into our hand. I love the straight-forwardness of a line, and yet how profoundly complex it can be. Imagine the amount of work that goes into making a line recognisably yours?
Shantel Martin for PUMA. Picture: Supplied.
You’ve collaborated with PUMA for the first time to create a unique PUMA x SHANTELL MARTIN collection. What’s your favourite piece in the collection? I’m a huge fan of the two-in- one jacket – it’s so well-made and it feels great to walk around in one of my murals.
How do you feel fashion relates to art? Fashion is art … without it we’re just wearing clothes.
For the launch event in east London you treated guests to a live drawing performance. Can you share some of the experience?
See the live drawing performance on my YouTube account
Was there a specific moment when you realised you could make being a visual artist your career and what are your career highlights so far?
I still struggle with the idea that “this is it”, that I’ve “made it”. Being an artist is, in many ways, a constant struggle. There are no clear goals or wins, not for me as I see it. Perhaps I’m a little hard on myself, but it's important to ask “what’s the point?”. The project with PUMA has been a highlight of my career. We created a collection that I’m incredibly proud of. Another highlight is all the photos and videos that teachers have sent me, of their students learning about my practice in class – mind- blown!
You view your drawings as a “language of lines” and your work is filled with hidden faces, caricatures and questions. How would you like people to react to your work? I’d like them to connect with my work, versus react to it. The biggest response I see people have when seeing my work, is a smile. For me that is enough. For me that makes this journey worth it. All the helplessness, anger and hurt I have been able to shed in this lifetime, to get to the place where people look at my work and simply smile.
Do you listen to music while you work and what’s on your playlist? Yes, I listen to music, it's like the spring and bounce behind my work. Keep an eye on my Spotify account (open.spotify.com/user/1214746922), I’m going to be putting up all my playlists this year.
PUMA X Shantell Martin leadcat slides. Picture: Supplied.
You’re from Britain, have lived in Japan and have a studio in New York. How has your journey influenced your art and why the Big Apple? I’ve been in New York for almost 8 years. I’m not quite sure why I’m still here, I think one reason is that it's really hard having to restart your whole life from scratch, I’ve done that a couple of times now and don't want to do it again anytime soon. In London I was a kid, then a student; in Tokyo I taught English in Japanese schools and VJ’ed – it was only in New York that I became comfortable calling myself an ARTIST.
What’s next on the cards for Shantell? I’m vlogging - so making videos. I’m hoping to expose what a day in the life of an artist looks like. I’m also working with brands like Tiffany & Co. this year and have a couple of museum installations planned for the future! See my YouTube account