Ten Artists I’m Really Enjoying on Instagram
Instagram opens a space for the disposable image which the gravity of the gallery’s white wall denies. The disposability of Instagram imagery would ordinarily be a vice, but for artists, it can also be a blessing: without the burden of eternity, artists are free to be playful, and it is through play that artists learn to become themselves. The artists I am sharing here make good and substantial work, but they also take advantage of the capacity of Instagram to support trying things out. They are making Instagram serve their creativity.
This is nowhere near an exhaustive list of artists I am enjoying on Instagram. We will return to this topic in the future.
It’s hard to make innocent erotic art, but Tina Maria Elena Bak somehow pulls it off. In loose watercolors somewhat reminiscent of Francesco Clemente, she emphasizes shape and the bleed of color over value and rendering. Her minimalist copulating couples come across not just as passionate, but as affectionate, generous, kind – happily human.
Valmonte mixes surrealist doodles and photography of herself as performance artist. In both media, she displays a tremendous capacity for following the logic of an image. This is not so easy – the difficulties of staging and of drawing tend to confuse the mind and obscure pure image logic. Valmonte ignores these obstacles and follows her inspiration deep into a surreal personal world.
Frédéric Forest does absolutely wonderful work with the simplest of elements, the fine line. He summons fragments of figures in his preferred space of the white page and the spare outline. He draws only what interests him in that moment, and nothing more. He gives his subjects life and vivacity while hearkening back to the quirkiness of magazine and book illustrations of the 1950s.
An absolutely wonderful illustrator, Cecilia Ruiz creates characters and worlds with a palette of shapes and colors that only appears simple. Her eye for the detail and specificity of real lived experience is remarkable. In her deft use of her tools, she fills her scenes with texture, delight, and warmth.
Guno Park is a master of the pen drawing. He roves New York City, his eye thirsty for material. Favorite subjects of his include subway riders and the stuffed animals at the Natural History Museum. He finds delight in everything he sees, and he meticulously documents and shares his delight with the viewer.
Susannah Mills, working nearly abstractly, uses line and color to divide the plane into an endlessly varied topography, like clouds or turbulent water. In such a purely expressive formal zone, some profound facet of the self inevitably comes through. It is a self full of joy that Mills transmits to the viewer, a child’s joy at the start of a bright clear day; she sparks joy in the viewer as well.
So much fun. Ben Garriga is a concept artist who fills his sketchbooks with monsters and nudes. He’s realty good at it. His life drawings demonstrate a fine understanding of anatomy and of the liveliness of the model, and his monsters are inventive, detailed and funny. They’re animated by love of animals, of costume, of props. One cannot help but experience glee when considering them.
Agnes Grochulska is a fine artist with the enviable trait of having a distinct sense of line. Her lines skitter across the surfaces of her faces, figures, animals, and scenes, presenting a vivid and unique record of the movement of her eye over the sights she surveys. Combined with her spot-on ability to capture the structure and vitality of her subjects, she has, by embracing play, found a unique artistic voice.
Emilio Perez has pushed the stylistic vocabulary of graffiti to the point that it takes flight as a complete visual language. He shatters the territory of his work into a complex hash of curved line and intense color, each element of which contributes to a harmonious and balanced whole. The tension between the energetic elements and the serene overall composition provides a tremendous visual satisfaction to his paintings.
Oil painter Mustafa Özel constructs the figure from the same kind of brutal, slightly over-colored brushstrokes as Lucien Freud. He is animated by some of the same savage critique of the carnality of the human condition. But he has his own set of interests and people: lean, edgy, in constant torqued motion, moving uncomfortably across a blanked-out hostile space. A tremendously promising artist.