Black Ink & White Spaces: Shantell Martin Takes Toronto

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I’m casually trying to be cool as I write this article about one of my favorite contemporary artists – but inside, I’m smiling ear to ear. A few years ago, my friends used to refer to me as someone who doesn’t enjoy art. You may think, “What a horrible thing to be”. Yes, I agree.

I’ve been dragged to the AGO many times and I’ve always found the trip, long. It’s not that I’m just a Grinch when it comes to the artful side of things but I found looking at “art” in big empty galleries just so mundane. I hated that I’m supposed to stare at an object blankly and I’m supposed to like it because everyone likes it – or claim they do. The whole experience seemed fake to me. Thus, the label -” Shiela doesn’t like art”.

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Unbeknownst to me at that time – I actually do LOVE art. I was just looking at  pieces that I couldn’t relate to. In the following years, I found influential contemporary artists – whose works I truly enjoy. One of them is Shantell Martin. Shantell’s stream of consciousness drawings are whimsical with underlying messages about her identity, everyday experiences, relationships, objects, and places.

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I find her work so honest and fascinating. With her genius laid bare in a white canvas – it’s easy to appreciate her thought process. And of course, it’s also incredibly beautiful.

Possibly why the masses love her and major brands scramble to commission her work.

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I find it ironic that I feel nothing when looking at classical paintings depicting literally everything, but yet I see everything around me and within me when looking at white spaces and black lines.

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Coldstream Fine Art Gallery is hosting 6 of Shantell’s work on canvas. The public opening is this Saturday from 1pm – 5pm. I highly recommend you to come check it out for yourself!

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Myself and Kariv Oretsky – owner of Coldstream Fine Art Gallery (80 Spadina Ave)

Shiela is the original Small Girl and the Founder/Content Editor of Small Girl Medium City. She spent the majority of her "Grown Up" life in Toronto and reluctantly calls it the 6ix. Connect with her on Instagram - @shylo_l and Twitter - @sgmc_to; Definitely say hi when you see her on the mean streets!

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