Artists Design Exclusively in Black & White compiled + edited by Janel St. John

10.1.17. Shantell Martin and Adam Pendleton are two artists who don’t see color. At least when it comes to their artwork. Both artists design exclusively in black and white. While methods and motives differ, the market for their two color creations is steadily growing. With a fresh point of view and an extreme commitment to their craft, Martin and Pendleton have become internationally renowned artists in demand!

Using her simple trademark linework - black ink on white surfaces - Martin transforms everything from walls to found objects, ceramics, toys, sneakers, and even the faces and bodies of participants in her art-loving audience, into a signature visual narrative. Her work bridges fine art, performance art and technology with the everyday experience of conversations, objects and places. Artwork by the London-born artist has appeared in the Brooklyn Museum, Museum of the Contemporary African Diaspora, Bata Show Museum and a number of private galleries.

Pendleton is a conceptual artist. His practice includes silkscreen paintings, photographic collage, video, performance, and publishing. He transforms old words and illustrations, into massive, abstract works with new meaning that explore identity politics. One of the youngest artists at Manhattan’s Pace Gallery, there is a wait list for his work. The Richmond-VA born artist has been featured twice in Forbes Magazine's "30 under 30;" and in 2015, he brought the language of the Black Lives Matter movement to the Venice Biennale.


WHO ARE YOU | by Shantell Martin


This year Martin had a solo museum show at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery, and became the first artist there to install work simultaneously at the museum and in the community. But it’s her work with Max Mara that’s resulted in one of the coolest collabs of 2017!

Max Mara collaborated with Martin for their Spring/Summer 2017 eyewear collection, to create “Prism in Motion.” The unique collection translated Martin’s signature style of stream-of conscious lines and words into playful and curious wearable pieces of art. Martin’s original artwork was digitally reproduced and decomposed into 1000 different pieces which were integrated into a beautiful bold cat-eye frame. The sunglasses are constructed in Optyl® which ensure unparalleled sparkle and transparency. 

For these Max Mara x Shantell Martin sunglasses (MM/SM), the Optyl®, technology made it possible to insert small paper fragments reproducing the artwork into each eyewear model, thus creating an exclusive limited edition capsule collection of 1000 numbered pieces, each one representing a different and unique section of the artwork.



Shantell Martin - Gallery of Work




Shantell Martin + Rashid Johnson to be honored by The Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts

The 3rd Annual MoCADA Masquerade Ball will honor Artist Rashid Johnson for Artistic Advocacy, Artist Shantell Martin for Emerging Artistic Voice, Activist Opal Tometi for Social Justice Advocacy, and the Council of Urban Professionals (CUP) for Corporate Advocacy.


Kendrick Lamar + Shantell Martin



Pendleton’s work is in the permanent collections of the Guggenheim Museum, The Museum of Modern Art, Studio Museum in Harlem, Carnegie Museum of Art, and Tate Modern in London, among others. 2017 has been a banner year for the New York-based artist who had three solo and five groups shows across the U.S. and in Berlin and Austria. Currently, his work can be seen in Public Movement: On Art, Politics, and Dance, in Stockholm Sweden, Sonic Rebellion: Music as Resistance at the Museum of Contemporary Art Detroit, and I am you, you are too at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis. His solo show, Front Room: Adam Pendleton, was recently on view at the Baltimore Museum of Art, where he's been newly appointed to the Board of Trustees.

The artist is a voracious reader who uses his personal library of words and images to disrupt and reconsider preconceived notions of history and culture as they relate to the avant-garde and current and past socio-political movements. The animating force of his work is found in Black Dada—the artist’s term for a broad conceptualization of blackness. Black Dada combines “Black,” which Pendleton describes as “an open-ended signifier” and “Dada,” a nonsense word which recalls the name of the radical artistic movement that developed in response to the horrors of World War I by producing absurdist artwork that challenged the social order. A core question the artist addresses is: What does Black Dada look like? By fragmenting, layering, and collaging materials he reveals new and unexpected relationships between the past and present, language and image, and abstraction and representation.


You can see more work by both artists, from their websites: SHANTELL MARTIN l ADAM PENDLETON. Here's a slide show of Adam's Venice Biennial presentation at the Pace Gallery Website. Can't get enough of Shantell Martin? I know...neither can we!!! Check out this cool video by The New Yorker: SHANTELL MARTIN: FOLLOW THE PEN.


Adam Pendleton, WE: Installation view, shot him in the face, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017

Adam Pendleton, Installation view, shot him in the face, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, 2017











Mark Bradford Week DMV


Esperanza Spalding Selects


Design Awards

Kara Walker at BMA