How To Reimagine The Canvas

How To Reimagine The Canvas

Artist Shantell finds new mediums in skin, denim and even her granny's sewing. One of a series of interviews brought to you by the Heineken Ideas Brewery.

Kyana Gordon
  • 3 august 2012

Shantell Martin is an internationally acclaimed visual artist challenging the traditional notions of drawing and animation. Inspired by Heineken’s new challenge to reinvent the Draught Beer Experience, has interviewed change-making creatives who are constantly reinventing the world around them. Shantell’s work re-imagines the canvas– as her signature style is seen adorning walls, sneakers, cars, and even human faces. Her work is ever changing, as it reflects what’s bubbling inside of her through lines, phrases, and color, it also serves as a rabbit hole for viewing the world in a fresh, new way.

How does your art help you see or interact with the world differently?

Art helps me have with a connection with myself – my thoughts, ideas, and issues. It begins inside and needs to come out. Being out in the world sometimes, and putting myself out there (through my artwork) helps me to relate to the world better.

Is what you draw influenced by what the canvas is?

The canvas is always different, from walls to cars, people, or even a big screen at a conference.

The underlying theme is a continuous line. When you change the medium or the environment, the work itself does change a bit. For instance if I am by myself the work is more detailed, but if I am at a performance, the stuff I create is words I can hear people saying in the moment.

Also drawing on a person (on someone’s face), I’ll tend to bring color into it. When you bring other people into your work they bring color into it through their personality and what they share, and you take into account what they feel through color.

Same with cars, they’re naturally colorful so that’s what I use when I draw on them.

You often use phrases in your work like “Who Are You?”, “Do Less Be More”, “Here Now”, and most recently “You Me”.  Why is it important for you to have a combination of words and images in your work?

Words are really important. Lines aren’t enough to make people question things. Lines aren’t enough to make me question things. The combination of words has a huge, strong meaning that everyone can relate to, whereas lines are hard to explain sometimes.

Here Now reminds me to be aware. Be grounded. I’m alive. I’m present.

Me You is a reminder we’re all the same. We all have our struggles, we’re all on this journey.

By mixing these words in, you open the door for more people to understand the meaning of the work in a shorter period of time and it becomes what people associate with you. People will tweet or post words on my Facebook wall that they have seen in my artwork out there in the world and send them back to me.

Recently you participated in a cross-generational, artistic collaboration with your Grandmother where you asked her to interpret some of your famous phrases in her own style. Are there any other projects you’re working on that re-imagine the notion of collaboration?

A few. I started that project with my Granny because I felt disconnected from my family back home in England. They had no idea what I’ve been doing for the last 8-9 years of my life, and my Gran was getting a bit older. So I’d send her instructions and she’d sew something and send it back.

I talked to my 9-year old nephew Charlie about shaving words into his hair for me. So every month he’ll go to the barber and my sister will photograph it and I’ll form a collection of head-shaven words. And that brings the younger generation into the fold. Charlie also gave me a lot of toys, which I dipped into gesso and have drawn and written all over so that’s also another collaboration.

In September, I am having a show at the Black + White Gallery in New York. It’s perfect because it has a huge indoor and outdoor space. It’s awesome in so many ways as I’m mixed race, my style that I’m known for is black + white, and it really makes a statement about the union of the two shades.

Lastly, I plan to record the sound I make when I make when I draw with a contact microphone. I’ll be using this as a performance visual/audio piece and will bring in other people to collaborate.

Watch Shantell demonstrate some of her live performance here below:

Thanks Shantell! Visit Shantell’s website here and Heineken’s Ideas Brewery here.

About Heineken’s Challenge To Reinvent The Draught Beer Experience

In a rather audacious move, Heineken are asking people from certain countries around the world to come up with new ideas tied to the draught beer experience. Over at the Heineken Ideas Brewery site, creative minds can offer a new vision to the drinks company.

Heineken say that draught beer is enjoyed the world-over, but it has not changed much over the years and Heineken sees the potential to take inspiration from technological advances and the development of other industries to create an exciting new era in draught beer.

Submit your new draught experience concepts at Heineken Ideas Brewery.



Japanese Face Wash Creates A Perfect Rose Every Time

Arts & Culture
Mobile august 26, 2016

Get A Better Idea Of How You Are Wasting Your Time

The TouchTime app is trying to revolutionize personal task management by providing detailed insight on how to be more efficient

Culture august 26, 2016

London Telephone Box Repurposed As A Tiny Mobile Repair Shop

Tools and supplies to replace broken screens or damage are neatly stowed away in these micro-workrooms


Get PSFK's Latest Report: Future of Work

See All
Design august 26, 2016

Conceptual Sportswear Created Out Of Futuristic Condom Material

A Dutch fashion designer is experimenting with new methods and fabrics to make high performance clothing

Fashion august 26, 2016

Fashionable Tassel Will Ensure You Never Lose Your Valuables Again

The device is fashion meets connected tech, that will help you keep track of your belongings at all times


Christophe Mascarin

Innovation in Latin America

Syndicated august 26, 2016

Would You Wear Wool Shoes To Save The Environment?

As demand for wool shoes grows, a number of US footwear brands are heading directly to the source: the sheep pastures of New Zealand

Sustainability august 26, 2016

Self-Healing Material Is Fashioned Out Of Squid Teeth

Penn State researchers have devised a new textile that uses organic proteins

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Search Engine Turns Your Own Drawings Into Photos

This image-matching software accepts hand-made sketches instead of keywords


Future Of Work
Cultivating The Next Generation Of Leaders

PSFK Op-Ed august 23, 2016

Modern Workplace Culture: No More Fat Cats Or Kissing Ass

Samar Birwadker, CEO & Co-Founder of Good & Co, on designing shared organizational values to optimize employee happiness and success

PSFK Labs august 25, 2016

PSFK’s Workplace Vision: How The Nurturing Of Seeds Will Come To Define The Onboarding Process

Our Future of Work vision is a service that allows companies to assemble and deliver welcome packets that are uniquely focused on the concept of growth

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Illustrator Interprets The Experiences Of Blind Travelers

Artist Alby Letoy creates drawings of poignant travel memories for the visually impaired

Advertising august 26, 2016

Clickbait Titles Used For The Good Of Charity

An agency devised an unlikely campaign that uses clickbait as a positive force to drive awareness to nonprofit initiatives

Advertising august 26, 2016

The Best In Eye-Catching Olympics Campaigns

PSFK rounds out the Rio Games with our picks for the best advertising moments off the field

Work august 26, 2016

Editorial Roundtable: The Arrival Of The People-First Workplace

Managed By Q, Soma, Workbar, Primary and thinkPARALLAX enumerate the reasons why companies need an employee-embracing workforce in order to exist

Arts & Culture august 26, 2016

Transforming Light Waves Into A New Art Form

An artist uses glass treated with layers of metallic coatings to create a unique installation called lightpaintings


Rio Olympics
Innovation Coverage From The Rio Games

Design august 26, 2016

This Windbreaker Lets You Explore The Outdoors While Charging Your Phone

The apparel includes solar panels that allow the wearer to stay connected through the power of renewable energy

Asia august 26, 2016

The Goal Of This Game Is To Not Get Laid Off From Your Job

A hit mobile app has you working really, really hard to not get fired as you climb the corporate ladder

Advertising august 26, 2016

Movie Critic Bot Guides Viewers Through Festival Offerings

The Toronto International Film Festival has created a Facebook Messenger chatbot to help attendants curate their schedule

No search results found.