Eliza Pratt – Looking Outwards 08

Eyeo2012 – Shantell Martin from Eyeo Festival on Vimeo.

Shantell Martin is a world-traveled artist who uses digital drawing as means of performance art. Although based as a graffiti artist in England, Shantell originally gained renown for her performances in underground concerts and clubs in Japan. While she claims that her work as a young artist channeled the frustration and disillusion she felt growing up, her time spent engrossed in Japanese culture led her to achieve a sense of zen as she drew. As she was living in Japan, Martin became heavily involved in the “noise” music scene and was hired to draw live as a complement to the bands’ performances. These drawings would be projected on the walls in a way that matched the energy of the music or choreography during these shows. After accumulating fame in Japan, Shantell moved to Brooklyn where she took on projects outside of a venue environment. By creating digital and traditional drawings on cars, rooms, tables, and anything she could access, Shantell proved that drawing could be made into a spatial performance that was accessible to the public.

While watching Shantell’s lecture in the 2012 Eyeo conference, I admired her drive to push the boundaries of how and what drawing should be. I particularly liked her “doodle volkswagen” project, in which she would draw on her friend’s car on the street and bring smiles to faces all throughout Brooklyn. During her presentation, Shantell combined live, digital drawing with pictures and videos of past work and experiences. By adopting a narrative approach, she details the events in her life that influenced her artistic vision and the choices she made. I admire her style of presenting, as it felt very personal without feeling too structured or rehearsed. If I were to give a lecture on my own creative endeavors, I believe I would like to adapt her style of using personal experiences to amplify the emotional connection to my work.

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