Photo Courtesy of Shantell Martin
Photo Courtesy of Shantell Martin


Shantell Martin, British Visual Artist and Cultural Facilitator

When I was heavy in the streets with my camera searching for murals, graffiti, and various forms of street art, I’d always come across Shantell Martin’s messages hidden in plain sight. All over the city, I’d see stickers that said variations of “Are You You,” “You Are You,” and “Who Are You.” I’d take a quick pic, post it to the New York Said IG page, and keep it pushing, never thinking I would be in her studio recording our conversation.


Listen to Shantell Martin tell her Story


Shantell’s story is one of transformation. From Tokyo’s vibrant club scene to the art world of New York, her journey has been an adventure in self-discovery and artistic evolution. Talking to her reaffirmed that success as an artist is a destination marked by something other than a fancy studio or a coveted gallery show. Those are milestones, not a destination. The life of a creative is an ongoing exploration driven by a willingness to create opportunities and a never-ending quest for self-awareness.

We conversed about the importance of collaboration. Shantell doesn’t view it as a tug-of-war but rather a graceful dance. Collaboration thrives on open communication and mutual respect, whether with design teams like Puma or a prestigious brand like Tiffany & Co.

After relocating from Tokyo to New York, she faced a challenging situation. Beginning afresh was difficult as she overcame various obstacles, from navigating the art world’s red tape to adapting to a new creative environment. However, her adaptability, persistence, and resilience helped her rebuild her career. She took on one project at a time and learned from each experience, strengthening her business acumen. This journey highlighted the importance of having legal support and building a solid team around oneself.

We conversed about Shantell’s passion for empowering other artists. She champions mentorship, particularly in the often-overlooked area of business knowledge. Contracts and collaborations are essential tools for an artist’s success, and Martin advocates for artistic independence and a strong sense of self-expression.

Throughout our conversation, themes like mindfulness (“Here Now”), introspection (“Are You You?”), and the power of connection in self-discovery emerged in her work. Her overarching philosophy, however, is beautifully simple: be kind, be present, and embrace the continuous exploration of life and art.

Shantell Martin’s story is a beacon for aspiring artists. It’s a testament to the power of self-belief, collaboration, and a relentless pursuit of finding your unique voice. It’s a reminder that the most incredible masterpiece is often the journey itself.

This short reflection on my conversation with Shantell Martin offers a glimpse of his story. However, for the full spectrum experience, try scrolling back up and listening to the entire conversation to unlock the complete story.

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