shantell martin x kw


SQUIGGLY LINES PUNCTUATED WITH BRIGHT EYES adorn the window of interior designer Kelly Wearstler’s flagship boutique on Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles. Executed with a thick, black marker, the drawing style looks familiar, Keith Haring-esque perhaps, but it is all Shantell Martin, bursting with whimsy, wonder and hipster cool. The British-born artist is collaborating with Wearstler on a collection of limited-edition furniture, clothing and accessories featuring Martin’s line-drivien musings, the New York Times T Magazine reports (see video below).

Martin arrived at the stream-of-consciousness approach and strictly black-and-white palette about six years ago when she moved to Brooklyn. She had been living in Japan where she was immersed in the avant garde club scene using a computer to generate digital drawings that were projected live to performances by DJs, dancers and musicians. kw x sm toteWhen she came to the United States, she honed in on her pared down, pen and surface practice. She describes her signature black and white as calming and says you can’t hide behind it.

“When you use color, in a way you are directing people where to look because the stronger colors will draw your attention,” she tells The New Yorker. “When you have something that is very black and white, 10 people look at it, they are all going to be drawn to a different place.”

She’s armed herself with an impressively succinct and telling tagline: “My name is Shantell Martin and I draw. I draw on everything.” And she literally means everything. Her pen has embellished cars, shoes, people, clothes, toys, bottles and all kinds of walls—in her bedroom, people’s homes, the exteriors of restaurants in Brooklyn and Nashville, the MIT Media Lab, the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Art (MoCADA) and at Young & Rubicam’s global headquarters in Manhattan.

Shantell Martin has armed herself with an impressively succinct and telling tagline: “My name is Shantall Martin and I draw. I draw on everything.”

As with most of Martin’s work, the mural at Wearstler’s boutique was drawn before a live audience. Passersby on the street watched through the window as she stood inside creating it spontaneously. “I don’t necessarily have a plan of what I am doing, I more have good intentions behind the pen,” she says in the T magazine video.

The Kelly Wearstler x Shantell Martin collection, including a chair, ottoman, leather motorcycle jacket and tote bags, is available at Wearstler’s store, online and at 1st Dibs. Martin’s work is also currently featured in the group exhibition “Crossing Brooklyn: Art from Bushwick, Bed-Stuy, and Beyond” at the Brooklyn Museum (Oct. 3, 2014 – Jan. 4, 2015). CT


READ a five-question conversation with Martin and Wearstler on 1st Dibs.



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