For this year’s GlobalShop we wanted to do something fresh, modern and memorable, so we invited artist Shantell Martin to apply her #DrawingOnEverything philosophy to our installation using her trademark black ink on white surfaces. Without question, Shantell Martin for B+N Industries was the highlight of the show. Many of you were captivated by Shantell’s presence, personality, and live art performance, but for those of you who missed it – this is your opportunity to get the creative scoop.
The foundational elements of our Shantell Martin for B+N experience were based on one of our most versatile merchandising and interior designs, System 1224. This system uses rectilinear forms and repeating modularity with light, taut, planar surfaces – devoid of applied ornamentation with the capacity to adapt to any interior, aesthetic, or type of merchandise. Timelessness and adjustability are at the core of the system, and usability is inherent in its disciplined design. Any component can be removed and replaced from the front of the system, singularly, without tools. This gives the user the opportunity to quickly grow and change a project with the seasons, marketing rollouts, or current inventory. Just as the great modernist architects of the last century designed buildings with implicit functionality and simplicity, System 1224 is a classic solution for the retail and hospitality environments of today.
We used our newest product line, Fortina, to finish the perimeter wall which continued on to a create a ceiling. This remarkable architectural system will fool your senses by replicating wood slats and Louvers with aluminum and a hyper-realistic non-pvc surface. The combination of these materials makes the collection perfect for “green” building. The large collection of finishes has a touch and feel that is indistinguishable from real wood. It dramatically enhances interior and exterior environments with the benefits of lighter weight, less cost, less waste, easier installation, as well as more consistent color and finish than real wood.
Since Shantell’s trademark involves applying black ink to white surfaces (and occasionally silver ink to black surfaces), it was only natural to build a predominantly white version of System 1224 for her working canvas – with a dose of black for added drama. The panels, shelving, and desk were powder coated in white, while the black panels were powder coated in black. A few unique standouts were the LED lit graphic panels used in between the white and black paneled sections, acrylic boxes containing white converse high tops, and a black metal case within the black paneling that Shantell used to create a special hand drawn silver vignette.
Shantell’s process always involves a mix of spontaneity and thoughtful precision. With each piece, she intuitively determines a starting point and then applies a single uninterrupted first stroke which serves as a reference point for the flow of the surrounding lines to come. At the beginning of Day 1 as seen in the video snapshot below, Shantell had an entirely pure and untouched canvas to work with. She began with her initiation line and moved around System 1224 repeating this technique until she found a resting place to branch out the details of her visual story.
Nothing in the space was immune to Shantell’s touch, that meant acrylic boxes, shelving, the desk, and ottomans were all fair game. Perhaps the most interesting moments occurred when her pen hit the LED lit paneling, black metal box, and the floor which we reserved for the start of Day 2.
Watch her work on our work in this video capturing the entire #SMxBN space.
At the beginning of Day 2, Shantell hit the floor and applied her incredible visual language to every corner. This was one of our favorite aspects of the #ShantellMartinforBN installation, and it added such a unique layer of artistic interest. Take a peek at the time lapse video below to watch Shantell take over our floor.
If you’ve been paying attention, you might be wondering how Shantell was able to draw in permanent marker on System 1224 two consecutive days in row. Here is where it gets interesting, since we wanted Shantell to be able to begin each day with a clean slate we decided to use our custom magnetic graphics in solid white to cover each of the panels. These magnetic pieces are currently employed to display marketing or custom imagery in the retail and hospitality environments or they can be done as shown. Many of our visitors found it remarkable how seamlessly our magnetic graphics can transform each System 1224 panel. So with her original artwork underneath, Shantell was ready to begin a new masterpiece.
Shantell’s installations have similar qualities due to the use of her chosen format of black and white. This monochromatic approach allows the eye to explore her work without the influential tone that color can give, i.e. apples are red and figures have flesh. Each of her pieces is entirely original, and always contains a philosophical message throughout. The heart of her work involves engaging the viewer with playful and whimsical shapes, characters, and text in both question and statement form. There are a few iconic phrases she likes to use as a compass in her own artistic journey that she shares with her audience, such as Who Are You, Are You You, and You Are You. This simple question/answer wordplay has given her internal direction in the art world and has become a fundamental assessment tool in keeping her mission at the forefront, a reminder to be oneself in all things. Throughout the show, Shantell engaged the audience and passed along her black & white message with hand drawn cards. She also personalized her outfit to include a custom message for B+N Industrues as seen below.
We feel it is our responsibility as a brand to develop and inspire the next generation of designers – since Shantell Martin is currently a scholar at MIT (Media Lab), it felt natural to have her host an exclusive class for current students majoring in the Arts and Fashion related degrees. The students were so grateful and thrilled to have intimate time with her. During the hour sessions at the end of each day, she demonstrated her artistic process and explored the philosophical meanings behind some of her work.
At the end of the session, Shantell continued “Drawing on Everything” with our employees and students offering up themselves for fresh “Shantoos” (aka Shantell Tatoos)…
At the end of the show, we were delighted to receive the Outstanding Booth award from VMSD. We are so honored to have been able to partner with artist Shantell Martin for this special installation, and look forward to sharing more of her with you at our next appearance at ICFF in New York, May 16-19, 2015.
All photos and video content courtesy of B+N Industries