Shantell Martin

Who is Shantell Martin?

Born in Great Britain, Shantell Martin lives and works in Los Angeles and New York. She is a visual artist, intuitive philosopher, cultural editor, lecturer, choreographer, writer, performer and more.

She is best known for her large black and white drawings, which she often performs for live audiences. In addition to exhibitions and commissioned projects for museums and galleries, Shantell often works on international commercial projects, private and public.

Her artistic journey includes collaborations with prestigious institutions such as MIT Media Lab, NIU Tisch ITP and Brown Institute of Columbia University, and she worked as a choreographer for the Boston Ballet. She explores themes such as intersectionality, identity, and play, and has presented her work in solo exhibitions at renowned galleries, 92Y in New York, Albright Knox, and the New Britain Museum of African Art.

Besides being an artist who has connected with the world of design, she is also an entrepreneur who clearly understands the value of her product. On her webshop you can buy t-shirts, mugs, luggage tags, and her drawings can be seen at Saraghina pizzeria in Brooklyn, on advertisements for the North Face. She also performed with Kendrick Lamar during Art Basel 2016 sponsored by American Express.

However, he is very careful not to accept projects for pure marketing and corporate interests. She took a stand against the exploitation of black artists in order for companies to have a better image.

“I’m someone who doesn’t say much, maybe even to my own detriment, but that means I’m in a place where I can say YES to the right things.”

At the Fast Company festival in New York, I was invited to the workshop “Understanding Brands as Cultural Patrons” in which the founder and director of WeTransfer, Damian Brandfield, participated.
the founder of the New Museum in New York Julia Kaganskiy and the artist Shantell Martin.

We were all embarrassed in the audience. Marketing industry, clients who engage artists in campaigns.
Precisely those who are proud that their corporate culture stands with artists.
She told us about her experience with clients.

“We are artists. We have to eat, support ourselves, buy materials, travel. We shouldn’t be last in your budgets. We should be at the same level as you pay your lawyers, directors….If I need to explain to you why it is humiliating for us artists that you treat us like that, ok, I will send you an e-mail and I will explain everything to you”.

Shantell works with brands such as Adidas, North Face, Max Mara, activist projects with the New York City Ballet, with Google applications on the topic of virtual reality. In the World Trade Center, her drawings took the form of moving video tapes on corridors several kilometers long.

Shantell is changing industries, establishing new connections between art, education, design, philosophy and technology.

And you? Do you know someone like Shantell in your environment or see yourself in her?

PS check out her manifesto on the future of art.


The characters and events in this story are partly fictitious. Any apparent similarity to real persons or events is intended by the author and is either a coincidence or the product of your own troubled imagination.

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Nataša Nikodijević Savin
Curated by Nataša

Producer (by degree and DNA structure).
A creative leader in business.
Entrepreneur. An artist. Curator and narrator.
Multitasking talent. Improviser. The inventor.



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