With her Autdodesk-supported artist in residency program winding down in San Francisco in a few weeks, artist Shantell Martin will be on to other projects.
As one of 15 artists to have had run of Autodesk’s equipment, machinery and software, Martin has tried her hand at working with aluminum and developing 3-D-printed building blocks that allow her to use multiple pens at the same time and other mediums. She was the only true artist in a group of architects and engineers, including one who helps build robots and another who has helped design spaceships. A three-day exhibition of their work will close May 22 at the Autodesk Pier 9 Workshop in San Francisco.
Associates at MIT’s Media Lab, who had attended Autodesk’s program, tipped off Martin to the residency. The artist, who has worked as an adjunct professor at the Lab, said she didn’t think Autodesk was for her because she didn’t think she would get in. Once accepted, Martin said she has really taken to sharing a work space and collaborating with her fellow artists, which has allowed her to think in a different dimension. Having collaborated with Martone Cycling, Nike and Slow Factory for a “Le Petit Prince” silk scarf among other brands, the artist said, “This year has definitely been about stepping back and saying no to a lot of projects that I normally would do.”
There have been a few exceptions. Martin will fly to Chicago for the June 12 launch of her first collection of large textiles for interiors for Momentum at the NeoCon show. Two days later she will be off to Boston for a new exhibition of her work at the Open Gallery. She is also in talks with Desmond & Dempsey about developing a collection of pajamas for U.S. specialty stores like Bergdorf Goodman. “That has been a fun conversation,” she said.
Having called Japan home from 2003 through 2009, Martin started keeping a diary in late 2004 and continued to do so for almost five years. She has pulled some of those drawings for “Wave: Journey Through the Sea of Imagination for the Adventurous Colorist,” a deceptively compact nine-foot accordion coloring book that Tarcher Perigee will publish May 17. The book has also made her reconsider how her drawings at that time consisted of minimal lines unlike the thicker ones she is now known for. Martin said, “It totally teleports you back to that moment in time.
“This is something I have wanted to do for a long time,” she said. “I like the idea of giving my old diaries a new life by bringing it back into the world and having people use their own colors to transform it in their own way. That will inspire me to revisit those ideas. It’s also an amazing look back at that time.”
Truth be told, living in Oakland agrees with her more than she ever expected. Asked if she has enjoyed living on the West Coast, Martin said, “Too much. I love the pace, the weather is beautiful and I like that there are 20 things going on each night.”