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Critical Mass: Artist-In-Residence Program is an Artist-Agency Collaboration Creating New Norms in Advertising.

Photo by Jon Paciaroni of Shantell Martin spray painting on ground.
Shantell Martin; photo by Jon Paciaroni.
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Our industry 
has a collaboration problem.

Advertising agencies haven’t been schooled in how to work with artists—a reality only heightened by brands’ desire to win the cultural moment.

Let’s make space to end this exploitation.

Founded by artist Shantell Martin and Critical Mass, CM:AIR is a bold initiative to enact rapid industry change.

6 MONTHS
1 COLLAB
AT A TIME

Sharing resources and tools, we will work together to design monthly opportunities such as creative partnerships and brand collaborations. Each CM:AIR artist will nominate the next resident.
Shantell Martin, New York City Ballet; photo by Roy Rochlin.
CM:AIR VOLUME ONE

Shantell Martin.

Below the surface of Shantell Martin’s signature black-and-white drawings is an artist’s inquiry into the role of artist and viewer. With a meditative process defined by an uninhibited flow, her compositions embody her internal state and the impermanence of the world around her. Exploring themes such as intersectionality, identity and play, Martin is a cultural facilitator, forging new connections between fine art, education, design, philosophy and technology.

A force of positivity and kindness, those who enter her orbit find authenticity with real education, real accountability, and real change. When, in 2020, she was asked by Microsoft’s Ad Agency to paint a Black Lives Matter mural while it was “still relevant,” her extended response made waves about performative allyship.
In addition to prestigious solo shows and her first #dreamshantell retrospective, Shantell has worked with some of the most renowned art institutions including the 92Y Gallery in New York City, the iconic Albright Knox gallery and the MoCADA Museum. Martin has carved a path that is as much intellectual as visual. During her two-year tenure as a MIT Media Lab Visiting Scholar, she collaborated with the social computing group to use drawing as a medium to explore the interaction of social processes with physical spaces.

A fashion and design icon in her own right, Martin has collaborated with brands such as Nike, Vitra, Max Mara, Tiffany & Co., Puma, and most recently, The North Face. She has worked with legends as varied as Pulitzer-Prize-winning performance artist Kendrick Lamar and the New York City Ballet. She continues to teach as an adjunct professor at NYU Tisch ITP (Interactive Telecommunications Program), where she encourages her students to push the boundaries of storytelling, visual art, and technology.
Shantell Martin x Max Mara, 2017; photo courtesy of Max Mara.
Shantell Martin, The Oculus, World Trade Center, 2019; photo by Steven Simione.
Shantell Martin x The North Face, 2021; photo by Jeremy Grier.
Line by Shantell Martin Whitney Museum Shop capsule, 2021; photo courtesy of The Whitney Museum Shop.
Shantell Martin x NYCB Art Series, 2019; photo by Emanuel Hahn.
Shantell Martin x Puma, 2018; photo by Shingi Rice aka @bluespit.
Shantell Martin, Saraghina restaurant mural, 2013; photo by Arielle Ferraro Photography.
Shantell Martin, The Big Yard Mural, 2020; photo by Jorge Marron.
Shantell Martin x The Golden Vines® Award Trophy, 2021; Courtesy of Liquid Icons/Golden Vines Awards.
Shantell Martin x Keep a Child Alive’s Black Ball, 2016; photo by TKTK.
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS CM:AIR?
• WHAT IS AIR?
• WHAT IS AIR?
• WHAT IS AIR?
• WHAT IS AIR?
• WHAT IS AIR?
• WHAT IS AIR?
• WHAT IS A.I.R.?
• WHAT IS A.I.R.?
Critical Mass Artist-In-Residence program was founded by artist Shantell Martin and Critical Mass Global CCO Val Carlson. CM:AIR’s first area of focus seeks to address artist-brand exploitation by exploring equity in contract negotiations, intellectual property, and modeling new norms for creative collaboration.
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TRANSPARENCY

Our industry operates in a haze that obstructs creative quality. First, let’s open the dialogue and use this platform to explore ways to increase the clarity and trust in contract negotiations between artists and brands.
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VELOCITY

Defining how we will shift artist-agency relationships over time, for CM:AIR Volume One, we will first focus on artist’s rights: equity, contract negotiations, and intellectual property.
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Nutrition

Holding space for both artists and agency, let’s launch a more collaborative process. What we do programmatically feeds back to the industry, feeds back to brands, and most vital, feeds back to the artist.

CM: AIR NEWS

OPENING A MORE EMPATHETIC FUTURE, STARTING NOW

CM:AIR is a collective braintrust. Our near-future vision is open-air so agencies may produce their own Artist-In-Residence program.
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