This was a very ambitious first project I did for my painting class called Instagram as Art. I only had a week and a half to finish it.
The subject of the project is “Media Images,” which we could interpret however we wanted. I decided to explore social media because I’ve always found it fascinating that social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram are turning the insights, tidbits, status updates, and images from peoples’ lives into an art gallery and are using web design formats that cater to those whims.
When the NSA scandal happened, everyone flipped out about their online activity being stored and used by the government. On the shallow surface of much greater, darker fears, many viewed their Instagram images as something precious and important even though the subject matter was just food porn and selfies. With this in mind, I was thinking along the lines of “What if Instagram was elevated to high art…?”
Using actual references from Instagram accounts I came across, I designed a generic girl’s profile. I for sure wanted to incorporate images like a #selfie, a Marilyn Monroe quote, cute animals, an ab pic, memes, and food porn of both greasy fast food fare and healthy meals — stuff you can find on just about everyone’s account. After I was finished painting, I arranged the pictures to look like the Instagram app in rows of 3, going from left to right from the newest down to the oldest image. I chose to do 9 images in total, because that’s how many you can see at once on the app.
If I had more time to really process and work on this Instagram gallery, I would’ve incorporated something that would immediately signify to someone that they were looking at an Instagram account — like the loading icon, app header or something. I would have also painted more images of the girl because I realized she only has two selfies of herself when she realistically would have more. I wished more of the images looked like the one in the middle, which doesn’t have bold graphic lines and looks like the grainy Instagram filter I was looking to emulate. I would also have omitted the use of pushpins since they were a little distracting for me during my own presentation. Had I used some sort of adhesive on the back instead, it would have imitated Instagram better.
Materials: acrylic paints, painting canvas paper cut into 11″ by 11″ squares (not evenly though), matte acrylic medium, a black acrylic pen for the lines, text on copier paper which I cut out, print-outs of various Instagram photos, pushpins.