Nobody knows the New York hustle like Shantell Martin, a British artist and designer with an inkling for a comic-driven style, specifically black and white, who is killing it in New York. She recently created a series of murals at the New York City Ballet’s performance hall, and has collaborated with Kendrick Lamar at Art Basel Miami Beach, alongside brands like Max Mara, Puma, Tiffany & Co. and even painted a Lexus for New York Fashion Week. She spoke to us about her career as an artist, illustrator and all around hustler.
In terms of getting work, how have you created opportunity since landing in NYC?
It has been pretty grassroots, working on personal projects I love, inviting friends along to be apart of it and then repeating that over and over for many years. Friends bring friends and some of these friends and people are impacted by what they see, feel, experience and end up reaching out to me down the line.
What mistake did you make?
In the past and actually in the recent past I’ve reached out to people, brands and institutions that I admire stating I love what they do and would love to work with them …. this has never worked for me! When they do not have a clue about who you are or what your doing they just blow you off, sometimes being extremely rude and sometimes by not responding at all. Its not my job to try and convince anyone that the should work with me and in my experience it does not work that way around. People in general have to have had a tangible experience with myself or my art and and “get it”.
What advice do you have for designers looking for more work and attention?
Everyone is in a rush these days! Take your time, do what you love, be honest with yourself and others around you, educate yourself about all aspects of the business from taxes to contracts to preservation of your works and also do an audit of your strengths and weaknesses and THEN create a plan to focus on those weak points.
Images via Shantell Martin