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A New York Artist’s Masterpiece is in Progress

Across the white walls of a Bedford-Stuyvesant brownstone, a masterpiece is in progress. Freestyle line artist Shantell Martin has taken to the boundaries of the one-room apartment she has occupied for the past year to transform it into a home.

“I DIDN’T actually decide to do the whole room at first,” said Martin, who had originally planned to contain the design to just a single wall. “I thought maybe that would just be enough, but it’s never enough,” she added.

“She draws on everything,” her friend and landlord Sarah Strauss told the New York Times. “At dinner, she’s drawing on the napkin, then the table, then her hand.” Martin, 31, was invited to move into the top floor of the apartment and make it her own canvas. Martin was given just one provision: “Don’t touch the hallway.”

The art has now stretched up onto the ceiling, the result of some 25 spent Staeldter Lumocolor pens. The London-born Martin has displayed her art in other spaces as well, such as private homes and offices, and with live performances set to lights and music. These events have been showcased at venues ranging from New York’s Museum of Modern Art to Japanese nightclubs.

While most of her professional work is rarely permanent, the art traced across Martin’s home provides an enjoyable contrast. “This is my first place where I feel settled,” she said, having spent three years bouncing around sublets in New York City. “Everywhere else, I felt like I was renting a room. Now I can make my own space.”

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