Artist Shantell Martin Uses 360-Degree Gallery Art Videos

A painting’s influence is no longer bound by the edges of its canvas.  The rise of 360-degree video is making it possible for art to transcend the limits of a single medium.

Shantell Martin, a British artist sprinkling the East Coast with exhibits this summer, has made it a goal to encourage the quasi-jaded public to reignite their creative side.  This month, she came out with a series of immersive videos on website Skillshare, a platform that allows creators to reach out to a larger audience by teaching online lessons or designing projects in front of the camera.

Martin published two 360-degree video lessons: one focusing on finding motivation, and the other revolving around digital drawing and art in tech, featuring artwork from her personal galleries, such as Gone in Manhattan and Connecting in Boston.  The videos give her a chance to teach art to people who aren’t able to attend her exhibits in person.  She hopes the immersive technology will engage and enlighten viewers more than a single lens snapshot, since it enables them to fully gauge the atmosphere and setting of a scene.

“I’m interested in technology.  It’s something I want to use more,” Martin said. “I think for many people 360 is something that no one really knows what to do with yet. People are just exploring and experimenting.

360-degree video is only first rising to the surface of the digital age and is primarily used in sports advertisement or event coverage.  Unlike Martin, creators have yet to utilize this function and tackle the tech universe along with the artistic one.  New technology effortlessly connects communities from around the world, and artists, she said, should take more advantage of digital resources.

Martin does this not only through teaching online classes.  A visiting scholar at MIT Media Lab, she completed a residency at Autodesk’s Pier 9 last June, a program where artists are given access to machinery and software.  She created seven new tools to enhance her art through tech, like markers with multifaceted tips and 3D drawing screens.

Bringing these innovations to her own galleries, she enables visitors to easily become creators through open source art. She invites them to remix, 3D print, or copy her pieces through assorted drawing tools.

Kids approaching teen years become discouraged to create art if they aren’t at the top of their field, where ‘top’ is defined by society, Martin believes.  Her open source exhibits aim to debunk this notion as it gives anyone the chance to display their imagination in a public space, already within the confines of a city gallery.

In her galleries both in person and online, Martin stresses the importance of creating art with the public instead of independently.

“Why are we here if it’s not to share? We live, we share, then we die basically—not to be too morbid,” she said in an interview with Co.Create.  “If we’re not here to share, or if we’re not here to be open, then, for me, what’s the point?”

With the emergence of 360-degree videos, artists will be able to realistically share their work with any person at any time, not limited by time or location, and Martin is taking the initiative to prove that tech can alter the art community for the better.

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Chloe Rehfield

A Manhattan-native, Chloe studies Industrial Engineering at Binghamton University & is a Contributing Writer for Monologue Blogger. When not crunching numbers or tweaking code, Chloe writes for her university's paper and works post-production for independent short films. In her free time, she enjoys playing ping pong with her twin brother and taking care of her two cats.