Shantell Martin’s work has, for more than a decade, entranced audiences around the world – from the USA to Japan – in its intuitive energy, skill, and bravura. With her highly personalized language of characters, faces, creatures, and messages, Martin invites viewers to actively engage in the 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 a piece of paper or textile, a sculptural surface, wall, or screen.
Her recurring motif, ‘WHO ARE YOU’, appears time and again in her work, vocalizing her vision to interrogate “who we are at the core, as people”. Bridging the fine art and commercial worlds, she has – since her beginnings with live performance drawing in the mega clubs of Tokyo – navigated creative worlds to interrogate and play with the role of artist and viewer.
This monograph charts – for the first time – the career of this prolific and popular artist, including early pieces such as ‘Dear Grandmother’ (a collaboration with Martin’s grandmother on over 70 pieces of embroidery), large-scale murals and commissions, and collaborations with museums, technical institutes, musicians and fashion brands.