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1 Minute 1 Work: The Sake-drinking Boy

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In the 17^th^ century, an unseen demand for prints and illustrated books, especially of entertaining character, emerged in Japan. Series like 'The Sake-drinking Boy' or 'Shutendôji' (ca. 1680) by Hishikawa Moronobu were traded widely and found fervent admirers in the print-hungry audience of the upcoming merchant classes. Today, we still marvel at the accomplished usage of line which artist like Moronobu developed during the early stages of the print movement (Ukiyo-e).

Shantell Martin, best known for her characteristic black-and-white drawings, tells us the legend behind 'The Sake-drinking Boy' and how the storytelling qualities of Moronobu's line inspired her own work.


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The work of artist Shantell Martin is a meditation of lines --- a language of characters, creatures, and messages that invites her viewers to share in her creative process.

Part autobiographical and part dreamlike whimsy, Martin has created her own world that bridges fine art, performance art, technology and the everyday experience: conversations, objects and places.

Underlying Martin's work is a quest for identity --- her own, discovered and refined in the development of her characteristic style, and that of the viewer, engaged by Martin's direct questioning and further explored in her winding lines. Her artwork has appeared in the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora, Bata Show Museum and a number of private galleries.

Martin's diverse portfolio illustrates her gift of navigating many worlds. From early beginnings with live performance drawing in the mega clubs of Tokyo, Martin made her way to New York where she pushed the limits of her trademark continuous line.

Her drawings have transformed everything from walls, found objects, and sneakers, to cars and circuit boards. In 2015, she became an artist in residence at the MIT Media Lab where she explored cross-disciplinary ways to express her art form, such as using drawing to visualize data.

She is a former Adjunct Professor and Artist in Residence at NYU's ITP (Tisch School of the Arts) where she taught her students to integrate drawing with technology, using cameras, music, and code. She is also a former fellow at the Brown Institute for Media Innovation at Columbia University.

Martin was born in London and attended Central St. Martin's University.

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