Unbridled Quirk: 5 Questions With Professional Doodler Shantell Martin

The British visual artist lets the lines lead in her collaboration with Puma

Photo: Puma

Scribbles, doodles, chicken scratchings on the wall – the artwork of Shantell Martin may easily be discredited as an dizzying disarray under the unperceiving eye.

Although Martin’s artwork could be described as a mess by some, there are others who beg to differ, calling it a self-expression that is filled with joy, quirk and spontaneity. The proof is shown when powerhouse brands and players such as Tiffany & Co, 1800 Tequila, and rapper Kendrick Lamar have sought out the London-born, Brooklyn-based creative for collabs, revolving around the playful eccentricity of her iconic black and white doodles.

I have works in color,” Martin corrects us first. “I’m just known more for my work that is in black and white. However, I do like to say that it’s my audience that brings the color to my work. Your imagination, your self. That’s the color.” 

So add in your own colour when you get your hands on Martin’s second collaboration with sportswear brand Puma, featuring their Spring/Summer 2018 collection of slip-ons, sneakers and an array of apparel. The line distinctly reflects the familiar black and white accents, adorned with writings and squiggles in true Shantell Martin fashion, no less.

We chatted up with this creative extraordinaire to decipher her beautiful language of lines.

1. Your artwork has been described to be ‘the language of lines’ and ‘stream of consciousness drawings’. In your own words, what is it to you?

I would say my work is an extension of self. It is a language that is recognizable with its recurring characters, words, and lines that I am able to share with the world. 

2. We’re guessing many aspects in your life has influenced the flow of your artwork. However, is there one significant inspiration that you always look to as your creative foundation?

Not really. I think so many things come into play. My whole history as a person is a part of my work. Who I am, Where I come from, Where I’m going. It all matters. 

3. You have worked with many brands. So how does PUMA fit into your own aesthetics/branding and is collaborating with PUMA any different in terms of your creative direction?

I’m really proud of this collaboration. The process for me is the same. But it’s been definitely different working with such an iconic brand and using different objects, such as sneakers, etc. as a canvas for my work. It’s also been extremely fulfilling and exciting for me as an artist to approach this as art and to see so many people around the world wearing my art. 

4. Kindly describe a bit about your collaboration with Puma, and the artwork you were commissioned to create for Singapore’s very first Puma Select store?

Collaborating with the PUMA team in Singapore was so special everyone was really trying to accomplish making an experience that would be unique. My piece was improvisational and inspired by the crowd and was a true reflection of that fun evening. 

5. So what’s next for you in the creative realm and how are you going to spend your remaining time in Singapore?

I had a wonderful time riding my bike around Singapore. It was such a nice way to explore and become more familiar with the city and something I’ve not actually done when traveling. I also loved the food of course and having fresh coconuts every morning. 

In terms of what’s next – I just launched a collaboration with 1800 Tequila and I’m preparing for another show in New York City at the renowned 92Y. 

The Puma X Shantell Martin collection is available in Puma Select Store At The Shoppes Marina Bay Sands, Canal Level, #B2-118