Artist of the Week: Shantell Martin

Painting: Only one YOU

“My drawings are all a mistake. The difference is that I enjoy mistakes” 

Shantell Martin is a visual artist born in London in 1980. Martin is known for her drawings and light projections. Her work can be described as abstract but she describes her work as “a language unfolding” and she will draw on any surface she can get her hands on.

Martin did not have an easy childhood, having to deal with being different and an outsider. Her experiences helped her be comfortable with not fitting in and allowed her to do her own thing which has led her to become the success she is today. Martin has collaborated with celebrity photographers and popular brands such as Nike and her work has been exhibited in various galleries and shows all over the world. Martin is also dyslexic but she embraces that about herself, incorporating it in her artwork by deliberately drawing some of the letters in the wrong direction and misspelling words.

Martin’s process involves putting a pen on a surface then letting the pen lead her hand, not lifting the pen until her artistic conscious tells her to stop. Afterwards she is left with negative space which she begins to fill in with drawings.

Martin’s artwork consists of lines, text and a collection of unusual as well as everyday characters. Majority of her pieces are illustrated in black and white because she believes that when you use colour you draw people’s attention in a certain direction but when you use black and white, people are individually drawn to different places. When Martin does use colour it is when she collaborates with other people. Martin also finds the use of black and white calming and she likes that with these two colours you reveal all of you because “you can’t hide”.

Martin herself is an extension of her work and can often be seen wearing her own art which she does by taking plain white pieces of clothing and drawing on them. Martin even has tattoos of her drawings showing that she loves what she does and believes in herself.

Recreate this look using:
Polish Pro Blanca for the White
Polish Pro Ebony for the Black

Artspace. [Internet]. 2013. Shantell Martin. The website. Available from: [Accessed 19 June 2014].
Elisa and Lily. [Internet]. 2013. Shantell Martin – Your style is your story. The Stylelikeu,com website. Available from:!0XGWn [Accessed 19 June 2014].
Martin,S. [Internet]. N.d. Who are you. The Shantell website. Available from: [Accessed 19 June 2014].

Kenna, S. [Accessed 19 June 2014]
Massappeal [Accessed 19 June 2014]
Martin, S [Accessed 3 July 2014]