Below the surface of Shantell Martin’s characteristic black and white compositions is an artists’ inquiry into the role of artist and viewer. In Martin’s world, a work of art is inseparable from its creator and its audience, and art is more than an object of admiration disconnected from the process of its inception. Rather, she sees her work as a vehicle to forge new connections between education, design, philosophy and technology — the glue in an increasingly interdisciplinary world. Her methodical practice of bringing the audience and surroundings into her drawings is a reflection on ever changing time and space.
Martin’s work with institutions such as the MIT Media Lab, Autodesk and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts denote her ongoing inquiry into new models and technologies that are transforming the way art is made and consumed. Eschewing traditional art world norms, Martin’s work purposefully bridges fine art, performance art, technology and commercial work. Her artwork has appeared in the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora, Bata Show Museum and at the prestigious Albright Knox Gallery in Buffalo, New York.
Branding & Design by Anton & Irene with love
The first step towards the rebirth for one of Buffalo's historically neglected neighborhoods the East Side's Northland Corridor, Shantell Martin's drawing "Dance Everyday" is a signal of things to come for the long-struggling community. Much of the plant will be demolished as part of a $42 million Buffalo Billion-funded revamp of the Northland Corridor into a hub for light industry and commerce that is being run by the Buffalo Urban Development Corporation. The work is the product of a collaboration between the Albright-Knox Art Gallery's public art program and the University at Buffalo's fledgling Creative Arts Initiative.
"Dance Everyday", Martin's largest ever public art piece, was completed over a weekend in June. In that time, she worked with Buffalo artist Scott Bye and used several cans of spray-paint to transform the whitewashed wall into what many are seeing as a joyful reflection of a neighborhood creaking slowly back to life.
"What I do is playful. I feel like a big kid. What I do, I love it, and I enjoy it," she said. "And even if I come in in a bad mood, like 10 minutes later, I'm in a really great mood because I'm doing something I love. And I think people should do more of that."
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