Welcome to the Change Makers Edition. Today we're shining a light on one of RPK's faves, artist Shantell Martin.
UK born, US based Shantell is best known for her large scale, black-and-white drawings and often performs many of her drawings for a live audience.
Her work is both dynamic and proliferous, so you can expect to be seeing LOTS that's new and thought provoking in times ahead ⚡️
For now though....drum roll...we're very excited to say she's dropped her personal interview for you here. Read on for the inside scoop...👇
Briefly tell us the major themes behind your work + why they are meaningful to you
Some of the major themes in my work are about reconnecting to the truest part of yourself. As you get older, it sometimes is easier to let the world in and that is a beautiful thing but it can sometimes also mute your own voice. But really, deep down, without all of the labels we give to ourselves as we grow into the world... without all of those labels, WHO ARE YOU?
Many of our Tween community have a passion or purpose or a desire to express themselves (creatively or otherwise) but perhaps haven't found their voice yet. Tell us if this has been the case with you at some point and if so how you moved forward.
It goes back to that foundational question, Who Are You? And if you can answer that question, that can help you move forward. You get up in the morning and you leave your bedroom and you get to make choices throughout your day that reflect the truth of who you are.
Creativity is an excellent way to find the answer to that question but it could also be something else, like business or science or sports or anything really that when you're engaged in that thing, you feel most like yourself.
Asking yourself the simple question of are you being you or who are you... that is a great way to help yourself move forward when you feel a bit lost or unsure.
Also, if you look at the first three letters of that question it spells out WAY which I think is a great thing to keep in mind too.
Looking back and looking fwd
What are you most proud of having achieved in your career as an artist.
Doing work that I'm really proud of and having the chance to have collaborated with other amazing artists such as the ballet dancers at the NYCB or Kendrick Lamar when we worked together for Art Basel in Miami.
What would you like to explore next through your work
Still trying to figure that out. I want to continue growing and pushing myself into uncomfortable but fulfilling work.
You grow the most when you step outside of your regular routine and do things that even sometimes scare you.
Has expressing yourself artistically affected your confidence or your JOY levels in any way. If so how?
Absolutely. I think that drawing has brought me so much JOY.
Did it require bravery from you to put yourself out there at all?
It always requires some level of bravery but I still find myself feeling not brave sometimes, but I just push through and focus on the work so any personal insecurities that I have don't get in the way. Also, I think a very important thing is surrounding yourself with friends and people that support you and help you to be brave too.
Please offer your best piece of advice to any Tweens unsure if the putting themselves out there is really worth it. Do you think any one individual can make a difference.
Putting yourself out there in the world is absolutely worth it. Sometimes it is challenging and sometimes it can feel quite natural.
But if you're like me and believe that the world needs many people who are willing to put themselves out there to make positive changes, then it becomes easier.
Also I do believe that every person offers something completely unique, that only they can bring, and that unique individuality is a part of what makes these positive changes possible.
Ok - personal anecdote for the Tweendom. What was your fave book you read or movie you watched as a Tween. And for any of our #rpkartclubbers please name any rising star artists you admire and you’d recommend we watch.
My favorite movie when I was 10-12 was the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. So many surprises, so many great moments and great songs and when they go to the chocolate factory... that's on my birthday. : )
Artists to Watch: I really admire Amy Sherald, her work is beautiful and she's so kind. I also adore Kristjana S.Williams, we went to school together and have been friends ever since and her work is also incredible.