ARTS & CRAFTS WITH SHANTELL MARTIN

ARTS & CRAFTS WITH SHANTELL MARTIN

#AreYouYou

Record and Play, an arts and craft presentation where Shantell invites guests to be interviewed while she draws them. You're also able to partake in a few activities, Q&A's, polaroid selfies and possibly getting your name written on the wall (check mine out below).

I had the opportunity to chat with the 34-year London native who moved to New York City from Japan as a VJ to pursue a career as an artist. Known for her trademark black line drawings that cover nearly every object in the room, you're almost taken off your feet into a world drawn from Martin's imagination.

Martin shares her story about what inspired her creativity behind this project:

People often told me how I should do things and who I should be like, eventually you start to get off your path. So as a reminder to myself, I wrote "WHO ARE YOU" a hundred times and wrote it on my bedroom door. I would then ask myself, "Shantell, are you being you?", "Are you following your path? I realized that the first 3 letters of "WHO ARE YOU" simply were WAY, trying to find your way in life. But where are we trying to find our way to? The second phrase is YAY, "YOU ARE YOU". We're trying to find our WAY to YAY. For me, I'm trying to find my WAY through this language of words and life in my drawings. When you go back to that original question of "WHO ARE YOU" It becomes a very interesting question. No one really knows how to answer it. We have the language to talk about what we do, where were from, how we do it, and what we want to do. But do we have that language to talk about who we really are?

At what age do you remember picking up a marker and what did you draw?

I don't think it was a marker. It was probably a pencil and I drew my dog at the time. I was probably around 8 or 9 years old. My mom always drew my dog, he was a Labrador and I was impressed by my moms drawing and wanted to do the same. 

What has influenced your motivation to draw murals and why?

For me its all drawing and beyond that the drawing is a language. It doesn't matter what I'm drawing; it could be a wall, it could be a car, shirt, shoes, a small piece of paper. It's a platform or space to do what I do and that's to create and find my way.

I always recognize a particular face in your work, who is this character and why is he so significant?

Just like in your life there's people that has always been there, so in my work there characters that has always been there. In your life there are people who come and go and spaces that come and go. Just like my work there are characters that has come and gone. The faces are pretty new, she explains. They've been around since 2013. They just appeared some day and I didn't know why and I don't think I'll know why until they disappear. Once they disappear then I'll probably be like, " Oh, I'm not drawing faces anymore and I'm not in this place in my life." Its very hard to know what they mean when you're in it. I have to get to that point of reflection and then I could look back and say, "Oh, that's what they were."

Do you mind explaining the comb you have in your hair? Is this influenced by your signature style?

I've dressed and had the same hair cut for as long as I could remember. The comb is more like comfort thing, you know? It feels good! If I leave the house without, I would either go back home to get or go to Walgreens and buy a new one. Its always been there, most people don't notice it. 

What advice would you give to aspiring artist who are walking in the direction you're already in?

This is a question I get asked a lot, I always kind of give the same advice because this is the same advice I would have liked to give my younger self:

  • DON'T WAIT FOR OPPORTUNITIES, CREATE YOUR OWN.
  • CREATE YOUR OWN OPPORTUNITIES BY USING WHAT YOU HAVE ACCESS TO.

It's very easy for us to say, "I can't do this because I don't have this", or "When I have this, I'll do this" or "If I had this, I could do this". Why not just change that and say "Because I have access to this, I'll do this." Use what you have access to and create your own opportunities from that.

P3Studio Artist-in-Residence Shantell Martin
Record and Play

September 17 - October 11, 2015

The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas
3708 Las Vegas Boulevard South
Las Vegas, NV 89109

Website: www.shantellmartin.com | Instagram: @Shantell_Martin