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BLOG Shantell Martin Mural

Meet the Artist: Shantell Martin

Meet Shantell Martin, an artist from London who started her career in Tokyo that has been taking over New York since 2009.

We’re honored to have had her imagination imprinted on our walls at Brooklyn Boulders Queensbridge – her style of working is effortless and free-form. Read more to find out more about Shantell and to learn about her piece at BKBQB.

Take Part in a Crowd-Sourced Art Installation: Blister Pact

Problem: You’re constantly eating eggs or adore buying small electronic goods at Costco and have amassed a bunch of oddly-shaped plastic (these are called thermoformed plastic containers also referred to as a blister pack or clamshell).

Solution: Come drop off your blister packs at Brooklyn Boulders, and be a part of a crowd-sourced art installation by artist & climber Ian Trask.

ian trask

If you’re wondering what anyone would do with a bunch of thermoformed plastic, read on. And Meet Ian:

Where are you from and how did you get to Brooklyn?
I grew up in Paxton, Massachusetts and went to Bowdoin College in Maine. I got my degree in Biology and proceeded to work as a research lab technician for a few years in Boston and Salt Lake City. My life took a bit of a turn when I broke my foot and ruined my snowboarding season. While my friends were out in the powder I was stuck at home reading books and working on my hobby, bending forks and spoons into curious abstract sculptures. This downtime forced me to reassess everything.

ian trask art

I left the world of scientific research and turned head on towards cultivating my art practice. At that time I had very little idea how to go about doing this. I knew I had to move to somewhere with more opportunity, and the obvious choice was New York City. I got in touch with some friends and soon found myself crashing with them in Brooklyn. That was in the fall of 2007.  I’ve been here ever since.

How would you describe your art?
After years of working in science research labs, I spent some time as a hospital groundskeeper cleaning up trash daily, an experience that proved to be formative in my artistic development. I saw potential in the waste I was confronted with and quickly began working with discarded manufactured goods as the main platform for my pieces.

As a sculptor, I explore the inherent aesthetics of material waste. My process focuses primarily on the disassembly of salvaged, once-functional objects, with the outcomes of my practice showing a broad range of material, visual and conceptual manifestations. Through the creative appropriation of mundane and familiar objects, I hope to redefine how we look at our surrounding environment.

ian task

Above, 5,000 matches whittled down to create the 2012 piece Pyromaniac. 

How did the idea of Blister Pact come about?
I came up with the idea for Blister Pact after a conversation with Lucien Zayan and Risa Shoup, the directors of the Invisible Dog Art Center. They asked me to propose an idea for a solo exhibition in their space.  Excited for the opportunity, I dug up a project idea I had been mulling over for years. They rejected it immediately and told me to come up with something that would actually challenge me. Feeling slightly deflated, I returned to my studio and proceeded to develop the initial idea behind Blister Pact.

blisterpact 1 blister pact

This project is my first attempt at building a monumental scale installation out of blister packs. While I have been incorporating blister packs into my work for years, it was on a small scale. Originally, my series of framed blister pack pieces inspired friends to save and donate their unique packaging to me. Inspiring other people to give me their trash after learning to see its hidden potential has been one of the most fascinating developments of my artistic process. The Blister Pact project is ambitious in that it aims to test, build, and improve upon this unique gift economy. This project will strengthen my artistic network, most of who recognize and appreciate my sustainably driven process and actively contribute material to my efforts.

Read more about the Blister Pact project here, and check out two upcoming art shows Ian is in this weekend at Threes Brewing & Gowanus Ballroom

A sneak peek at one of the works: