ARMED WITH A BLACK PEN and a penchant for line drawing and storytelling, Shantell Martin has carved out a significant artistic space for herself. Her visual musings are driven by her personal language of key words and faces, intuitive energy, and a sense of true freedom and joy gleaned from sharing her ideas. “Who Are You” is a recurring theme throughout her work. She’s interested humanity, who we are, and the role of the artist and viewer. “Shantell Martin: Lines” a recently published monograph, explores her practice.

Bridging fine art, commercial art, doodling, and play, Martin’s black-and-white, stream-of-consciousness drawings have broad appeal. She’s worked with numerous museums and cultural institutions; conducted participatory drawing sessions with live audiences; and produced drawings on a variety of canvases—countless walls, limited-edition prints, vases, sneakers, bikes, cars, a house, and more.

Today and tomorrow (Oct. 10 and 11), Martin is working on a new 16,000 square foot mural in the “Big Yard” at Waterside Children’s Studio School in Rockaway Park in Queens, N.Y. The public is invited to watch her work.

Her drawings have graced the walls and floors of the New York City Ballet at Lincoln Center. She counts Nike, Tiffany & Co., SUNO, Max Mara, Maybelline, Absolut Vodka, Kelly Wearstler, Kendrick Lamar, and Puma, among her collaborators.

Solo exhibitions featuring her work have been presented at the Albright-Knox Museum, 92Y Gallery, and Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts in Brooklyn, N.Y. “Words and Lines,” an interactive, multimedia installation is currently on view at the Denver Art Museum.

Bridging fine art, commercial art, doodling, and play, Shantell Martin’s black-and-white, stream-of-consciousness drawings have broad appeal.

Born in London, Martin lives and works in New York, where she is an adjunct professor at New York University in the Tisch Interactive Telecommunications Program. “Lines” is her first book. Fully illustrated, the volume chronicles her singular career, an impressive line-up of commissions, collaborations, and projects.

The monograph includes an essay by Katharine Stout, deputy director of the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, and co-founder and associate director of Drawing Room in London; and a conversation between the artist and Hans Ulrich Obrist, artistic director of Serpentine Galleries in London. A special version of the book, a limited edition of 200 available directly from HENI Publishing, features original drawings by Martin on the front and back covers. CT


“Shantell Martin: Lines,” with contributions by Katharine Stout and Hans Ulrich Obrist (HENI Publishing, 240 pages). | Published April 7, 2020, Hardcover


FIND MORE about Shantell Martin on her website


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