Black History Month

Black History Month: Shantell Martin brings identity and inclusivity to life with visual art


Black History Month is about celebrating and honoring Black excellence and achievement in many fields.

One Black creator in particular who stands out is Shantell Martin.

The London-born, New York City-based visual artist creates works that explore identity, intersectionality and play, through black-and-white line drawings on surfaces including walls, cars and even sneakers. 

Her stream-of-consciousness work has been displayed everywhere from live performance art in Tokyo nightclubs to Manhattan’s The Oculus and the New York City Ballet to San Francisco, Denver, Paris and beyond.

Martin even collaborated with rapper Kendrick Lamar in a 90-minute live art performance at Art Basel in 2017.

Breaking the boundaries and thinking outside the box are also hallmarks of Martin’s work. 

At a San Francisco residency in 2016, she used 3D printing to design and produce new drawing tools that resulted in 15 new works on canvas. 

Audiences are often able to interact with Martin’s work. At a 2012 exhibition at Toronto’s famed Bata Shoe Museum, one workshop allowed kids to draw on paintings in Martin’s installation, making the artwork inclusive and collaborative.

During Black History Month, the artist will layer her own style onto the iconic “Love New York” branding on customized pieces for the adidas MakerLab at JD Sports Times Square.