Shantell Martin Says Less is More | 30 Days Unchained: Day 20 Tuesday 29 January, 2013

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30 Days Unchained/#30Unchained | Day 20 1/29/13 | Inspiration: Shantell Martin To say Shantell Martin is breaking boundaries, not only in visual art, but in pretty much every which way, is an understatement. Shantell is a visual artist whose border-hopping takes her around the world, from London, to Tokyo, and now Brooklyn, NYC. Her artistry […]

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30 Days Unchained/#30Unchained | Day 20 1/29/13 | Inspiration: Shantell Martin

Shantell Martin by Kameelah Janan Rasheed.

To say Shantell Martin is breaking boundaries, not only in visual art, but in pretty much every which way, is an understatement. Shantell is a visual artist whose border-hopping takes her around the world, from London, to Tokyo, and now Brooklyn, NYC. Her artistry both transcends and merges genres of drawing, sound, and light experimentation. She has collaborated with big brands such as NikeID and Coca-Cola, and drew on sneakers, cars, and even our very own, Kathryn Buford. Her light projections were featured at the MoMa, megaclubs in Tokyo and Russia, as well as, on enormous screens at the Shibuya and Harajuku crossings in Tokyo. But, Shantell does not make art for the success, but because she’s found what she calls: “[that] thing in your blood that you’re passionate about and pursuing it.” She also collaborates and shares her artistic methods with anyone who asks because she believes, “The more people out there creating the better.”

“Do less. Be more.” is Shantell’s personal motto for letting go of other interests and distractions to focus on your creative passsion. She tells Live Unchained: “I want to do everything: I want to travel everywhere, I want to make films, tattoo… It’s like trying to go down ten roads at once – you won’t really get anywhere…It’s a huge undertaking to start to practice letting go of ideas that do not exist or fun distractions.”

Shantell’s simple mantra is the inspiration for today’s challenge…

Challenge (Find, Create, or Remix an image that answers the question): How can you do less, but be more?

Share your image(s) on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest and be sure to tag @liveunchained and use the hashtag #30unchained so we can shout you out! Be sure to follow us on FacebookPinterest and Twitter to keep up with the latest #30unchained news. 

Live Unchained: How would you describe your artwork in 5 words?

Shantell Martin: Open, fluid, free, honest, connected.

Art by Shantell Martin, Photo Credit: Kameelah Janan Rasheed

In your PSFK talk earlier this year, you repeated the phrase: “Do less. Be More.” How did this idea come to be so important to you?

It came to me as advice in a dream: Do less. Be more. I want to do everything: I want to travel everywhere, I want to make films, tattoo, draw on walls, be in a band, write, create visuals, learn to house dance, swim and so on and on and on… It’s like trying to go down ten roads at once – you won’t really get anywhere.

My goal is to become an expert at drawing–it’s as simple as that. To do that I should be drawing. I’ve had to work really really hard to get to this point and to be in the moment. It’s a huge undertaking to start to practice letting go of ideas that do not exist or fun distractions.

Shantell Martin Shoe Design for ADIDAS, Photo by Elion Paz

LU: I like that you not only believe in the importance of self-reflection, but also self-trust.  You’ve said: “The more you connect with yourself, [the more] you start to be inspired through your own eyes.”  How do you connect with yourself? Would you say that “inspiring yourself” was something that came naturally to you, or something you had to work towards?

SM: Honestly it’s definitely been a steep climb and I’m nowhere near the top either. I spent most of my teenage and early twenties angry with myself, my family, and politics of the UK. I blamed other people for the childhood that me and my siblings had. Then around 25 or 26 I lost direction completely and had no idea what I was doing with my life. Hitting a big low I realized something needed to change. Living in Japan at the time, I shopped myself off to a mediation retreat on the island of Shikoku (friends had dome it in previous years, but it never appealed to me before). Sitting with myself and thoughts for ten days, I made the first small step in creating a better, nicer, more accomplished “me.” Slowly that anger, turned into regret, then understanding and then forgiveness and now, everyday, I practice being grateful for my life and past. I try to go on a mediation retreat once a year or so, but in my daily life drawing is my meditation.

LU: What does living unchained mean to you?

SM: For me, living unchained means finding that thing in your blood that you’re passionate about and pursuing it, chasing it, living it, being it…no matter what.

Last October, we met up with Shantell at her exhibit “Continuous Line” in Brooklyn, New York. In our interview with her, Shantell showcases her artistry by drawing on our Kathryn, further speaks to the notion of connecting with oneself, about her life in Japan, and plays Truth or Dare for the very first time!

 

This interview is excerpted from a full feature with the artist. View the original article here.

30 Days Unchained/#30unchained is an interactive creative countdown to the Live Unchained Anniversary Celebration . Everyday for 30 days, we’ll share some of our most popular interviews with Live Unchained featured artists. They include women creatives of various disciplines from across the African diaspora. Her creative journey will be the inspiration for your challenge. To participate simply respond to the challenge question with images (not words). Share it on Facebook, Twitter or Pinterest and be sure to tag @liveunchained so we can shout you out – it’s that simple. Learn more about 30 Days Unchained, including rules and prizes hereGet your daily challenge from Thursday, January 10th through the day of the big bash on Friday, February 8th at www.liveunchained.com.

Written by Kathryn Buford, Nesrien Hamid and Kristen Nicole

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