British visual artist Shantell Martin is best known for her stream-of-consciousness drawings and light projections. Her work is a meditation of lines; a language of characters, creatures and messages that invite her viewers to share a role in her creative process. We recently spoke to her about her designs, the stories she tells through them, where she finds inspiration and her newest project – a coffee shop in New York!
How did your interest in art and design begin?
As a child I always enjoyed drawing and I feel my interest, or you could say love for art and design, is naturally apart of who I am. I can’t recall a moment or an experience, which started it all.
What inspires you when you draw?
As an artist I often get asked what inspires me or who inspires me and my answer to that question changes. Right now I believe that I inspire me; let me elaborate on that. I’ve discovered that when my goal is to be a better, nicer, less angry, more compassionate, healthier human being if I work on eating better, drinking better etc. The result is that I want to do what I love and for me that is drawing. So because of that, when I draw I’m being naturally inspired by just the action of doing something that I love to do.
What stories are you telling through you art work?
When people look at my work they typically smile, my work seems to have an uplifting and positive quality to it. People may not know but they are seeing the work of a person that was not always happy and at times pretty angry. There is the story… it’s a story of my experiences, my challenges, my life abstracted into a language of lines and words.
What has the highlight of your creative career been?
I’m really proud and happy with what I’ve archived in general and with how I naturally, for some reason, always want to move forward, to learn and to evolve.
Most exciting collaboration?
That would have to be my most recent collaboration with the super talented designer Kelly Wearstler. It was a great experience bringing both of our creative talents together in one unique collection.
What are you working on at the moment?
A new project that I’m excited about is opening up a coffee shop in New York. Imagine walking into my art and picking up your morning or afternoon coffee everyday.
Do cities inspire your work? And which is your favourite city?
I love visiting new cities… They open you up to new experiences and people. I really like Toronto and Tokyo and LA actually, but my favourite city might possibly be Graz in Austria. Such an impressive mix of old and new.