At this point, most of us browse Instagram as a habit, upping our screen time without even much benefit. Observing how everyone else and their mom is having a wonderful, photogenic life (or, at least, it looks that way) isn’t exactly worth all the scrolling. But social media (Instagram especially) can be a useful platform of exposure for visual artists.
Following these Instagram artists is a great way to support independent creators, break up the monotony of your feed and engage with the cultural zeitgeist. Compelling, transformative and socially relevant works are shared through social media all the time. You have the opportunity to interact with these artists on Instagram just by tapping an icon on your phone. We recommend that you do so. And no matter what you like to see, we’ve got an artist or two that will interest you – but everyone on this list is worth a follow!
Alex Vincent recreates the vibe of old VHS tapes and paperback book covers using the imagery of contemporary horror and thriller films. His posts tap into the intertextuality of the horror genre and the cult followings that some of these franchises have within the culture. That’s not to mention the whiplash that his followers must get from experiencing nostalgia for movies that have, surprisingly, just been released.
Hagale’s posts are mostly graphite sketches on paper, which are then digitized for the sake of promoting on social media. Some are playful, cartoonlike depictions of real-life situations and others are more abstract; a few are seemingly unfinished. The intrigue of Hagale’s works lies in their simplicity.
Jenna Gribbon’s oil paintings often go viral for a reason. With her focus on the female body, Grobbon’s been known to depict the mundanity of the naked body as well as feminine sexuality – especially among the wlw community. Her paintings are expressive, with heavy brush strokes and warm colors.
Div9nity is an account that posts “meditations, affirmations and reminders of your divinity.” While that may seem a little granola, these posts could bring some much-needed, earnest positivity into your life. Using typeform art and design, Div9nity’s pieces offer respite from the neuroticism of the rest of your feed.
Carissa Potter Carlson
Carlson’s page is an amalgamation of “art, objects and other things to help you feel a little less alone.” Her block cartoons are strangely comforting, most including thought-provoking words of wisdom written out my hand.
With her autobiographical comics, Wu’s posts are introspective as well as engaging. Primarily a digital artist, she often switches the styles of her pieces. Speaking with TMS, she explains how she sees social media as “a great way to reach people who really care about your work.”
“My content/art is not for everyone, and that’s OK. But the best way to find ‘my people’ is to put it out there into the world online,” Wu adds. “My art grew out of a place of needing to put my thoughts down on the page. I mainly specialize in comics, though sometimes I do portraits and landscapes, too!
“I started making comics in [high school], when I felt like I couldn’t express myself and my big questions in real life – I was shy, had poor public speaking skills and couldn’t be as concise verbally as I could when writing. To this day, my art page is a way for me to communicate my thoughts to others, and I’ve been very very happy to find that my content resonates with lots of people! I’m not alone in my struggles!”
Save Art Space
The Save Art Space Instagram page is not necessarily a single artist but an organization dedicated to making art and culture more accessible and less commercialized. They work on “transforming advertisement space into public art by the local community.”
Purchasing billboard space not to advertise, but to display innovative art, Save Art Space posts photos of their latest claimed spaces, new art publicly visible. It’s refreshing to see advertisement territory – which most people see as a gaudy annoyance – as visually compelling and elevating.
This artist duo is more than just a strange name and Instagram handle. Their surrealist, abstract art features both sculpture and paintings. Each piece is almost hypnotizing in its structural disorientation.
Brandon’s pieces are not for the faint of heart. His current project, to which most of his posts have been dedicated, is his “Stolen” series. “Stolen” is “dedicated to the many Black people that were robbed of their lives at the hands of the police.”
Brandon spends a minute per year of life lived by the subject on each portrait. The portraits, therefore, were left purposely unfinished – a visual representation of lives cut short. Brandon also posts time-lapse videos of sketch portraits he makes, aging the subjects as the video continues. For timely, topical art posts, Brandon is the person to follow.
Most of Shaka’s posts are single-panel comics that offer scathing social commentary while remaining playful in tone. With hand-drawn scenes, pop culture references and play-on-words, his works are always a laugh. TMS spoke exclusively with Shaka about his process.
“My art came out of a need to create something for people that I wasn’t seeing, which was a comic strip and fan art that reference comics, gaming, hip-hop, Blackness and just progressive thinking in general,” he explains. “I also wanted to make something during the pandemic that would put a smile on somebody’s face, even if they’re gonna keep scrolling afterward.”
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