Overshare Podcast: Shantell Martin + Ivan Cash
Overshare is a Working Not Working event series and podcast that features honest conversations with our favorite creatives about the tough stuff we don't talk about in public often enough. For our 6th episode, WNW co-founder Justin Gignac talks to Members Shantell Martin and Ivan Cash, who both possess an enviable level of self-awareness, gratitude, and the ability to appreciate and live in the present. It makes the resulting conversation especially lively and insightful, as it shifts from creative foundations to the complex ideas of sharing and spontaneity and connection, to how artists can challenge an overreliance on technology both professionally and personally.
Shantell kicks things off talking about her background growing up in a white, racist, and homophobic community where she immediately felt like an outsider. "Because I didn't look like anyone else around me, I didn't have that pressure to fit in and to be like everyone around me... I was almost given a passport to be myself from quite an early age, which I think allowed me to explore this kind of natural creativity that I had inside me." For Ivan, the first creative project that brought him to where he is today resulted in getting arrested. While taking a screen printing class in college, Ivan made t-shirts encouraging the firing of then embattled New York Knicks coach Isaiah Thomas, and sold them outside of Madison Square Garden on game nights. After three nights of selling out of shirts, Ivan was arrested on the fourth and taken to Midtown South Precinct. "News of the arrest ended up getting a lot of coverage. I was interviewed on ESPN Radio, and a year later that project got me my first professional job in advertising. So, in many ways, getting arrested got me my first professional job."
Both Shantell and Ivan are artists very much driven by human connection. Shantell discusses the concept of spontaneity and sharing that drives her work and captures the magic of what art can be. "Why are we here in life? It's to share... We've gotten to this stage where we imagine that art is this romantic moment of craziness that an artist does, and that's because we don't have access primarily to an artist's process... 99% of my work is done with an audience and I allow the audience to see my process. And that's the magic. Before I do anything, there's a blank canvas. After, there's the final result. We can all look at a final product and bring our baggage to it... But the moment of connection, the moment of sharing for me is when you actually create the work. And if you can share that, then we're all connected in that moment and we're all experiencing the same thing happening at the same time. And when I produce a work that's never existed before, then for me that is essentially connecting and sharing at its core, and that is what I'm here to give to the world in a way that no one else can."
Ivan's work often focuses on the burdens of technology and always being "on." The conversation naturally shifted toward meditation, which both Ivan and Shantell have practiced. "I've gone on a number of long-term silent retreats that are a total recharge for me, where I can process everything," Ivan says. "We work out our bodies but when do we work out our brain or have a cleanse to process all of the crazy shit that happens on a day-to-day basis?... It's usually a week, but I've sat a month in silence... I think it couldn't help but allow me to pursue my passions more and learn 'what do I really want?' It became clear there was no other path but to do what I felt most convicted and passionate about. I hope that I'm a better listener from it."
For those of you who couldn't join us, we have good news: you can listen to the entire conversation below on our podcast, brought to you by our friends at AND CO. Subscribe to Overshare on iTunes, Soundcloud, or with any other podcasting app via our RSS feed.