British-born, New York-based artist Shantell Martin is known for her distinct line art. A master of doodling, Martin’s signature black and white drawings is an artists’ inquiry into the role of artist and viewer, where a work of art is more than an object of admiration disconnected from its inception.
Exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity, and play, Martin is a cultural facilitator, forging new connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy, and technology. A fashion and design icon in her own right (and an ultimate it-girl), Martin has collaborated with brands such as Nike, Vitra, Max Mara, Tiffany & Co., and in 2018, Puma launched a global capsule collection featuring her drawings.
Her work is also showcased in prestigious solo shows at some of the most renown art institutions, and with more than 178k followers, it’s clear that the sky’s the limit for Martin.
But it didn’t start like that… As a black creative girl with dyslexia, Martin struggled with being different. An outsider, as she puts it. “As a kid, I didn’t realize that being an outsider gave me a passport to be different,” she told Elle Canada.
“I also didn’t realize that I was dyslexic. When I was finally tested for dyslexia in art school, my heart sank as I thought back to the number of breaks I spent sitting in the gym because of failed spelling tests,” she recalled. “Teachers thought I wasn’t trying when, in fact, my brain just wasn’t processing words like other kids’. At the time, I didn’t know how to channel my frustration and creative energy, so I turned to drawing. Someone could tell me that I had spelled a word wrong, but no one could say that about the lines I drew.”
Her creative spirit found solace in drawing, and she hasn’t stopped since, doodling over walls, curtains, even whole buildings. Take a look at some of her doodles below: