Shantell Martin’s Art is More Than Just Doodles

As a young girl, Shantell Martin found solace in drawing. “As a kid, I didn’t realize that being an outsider gave me a passport to be different,” she shared with 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.

So she turned her attention to drawing, channeling both her frustration and creative energy to her art. “Someone could tell me that I had spelled a word wrong, but no one could say that about the lines I drew.” Now Martin’s work is showcased in some of the most renown art institutions, with collaborations with giants like Nike, Vitra, Max Mara, Tiffany & Co.

Known for her signature black and white doodles, her line art provides an inquiry into the role of artist and viewer, where a work of art is more than an object of admiration disconnected from its inception. Her work mostly takes a life of its own, sprawling across walls, floors, even whole buildings; an artistic presence that demands attention.