The Creative World of Instagram
Say what you will about social media, but our current age of communication has provided artists with endless new ways to connect and share their work. Instagram, in particular, celebrates creative, visual content and our Photoshop Instagram has served as a place to support individual artists through monthly hashtag challenges. Here’s how it works: each month, we host a new challenge, encouraging you to share your creative work that fits the theme and we then post some of our favorite submissions on our account.
To make all of this happen, we select different artists to introduce each artistic challenge, all of whom have used Instagram as a tool in their creative journeys. We caught up with a few of these artists here to pick their brains about their work, creativity, and Instagram:
What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think of your creative style?
Fredy Santiago (@imsugarcoated): The first word that comes to my mind to describe my work is “explosive.”
Julian Herbrig (@care4art): Illusionism.
Eric Paré (@ericparephoto): Not a word, but a quick description that I paste over and over in my pictures descriptions: “The only source of light is the one in my hand.” That’s what it is about. What it means is that there is no other intentional light than the one I use to light up the model. When we shoot, we are very light-weight. Our setup is simple. We give a performance. Our 15 minutes shooting at blue hour is a dance, a series of shapes of light, a choreography by [my partner] Kim, a rhythm that we keep until deep darkness. It’s a moment of trance we hold tight in that quick moment of fantasy.
Charlie Davoli (@charlie_davoli): “Illusion.” A well done illusion is when something apparently impossible seems to be real at first glance. The more it looks real, the more powerful the illusion’s effect.
Do you have any methods or exercises for inspiring creativity when you’re stuck in a rut?
Fredy: Lately enjoy drawing what I see. There are so many things that you pass by or come across that are interesting, and from those drawings I distort or play with them. I like to play with my work and be more selective about color. Another awesome thing is just to go for a walk or run, come back and start writing down mental notes.
Julian: I just take a break from daily life and go out for a long walk. I find it’s important for me to change scenery often, meet new people, see new places and go on little adventures. Creativity in essence is a matter of surprise, so I try to cultivate that.
Eric: I think that creativity is like a boat on the water. You just release the anchor and it starts to flow. I like this feeling very much. The water current going so strong in a perfect moment of intense creation. So strong that you barely have the time to raise your head to take a deep breath and realize that you are inside of it.
Charlie: When I am stuck I just simply stop creating, trying not to get too stressed. Frustration doesn’t help, so I just take my time and wait for a sudden inspiration that illuminates me. Inspiration can come from anything, a color, a particular shape, a funny joke, a song, a movie.
How has the Instagram community played a role in your development as an artist?
Fredy: I love it in the way that there are so many artists out there who are talented and inspiring. I enjoy seeing what others are working on and see their work evolve. I am also grateful for the community that finds me and supports me, it feels good to cross borders and have someone from far away come across your work.
Julian: Creating content for my Instagram gallery opened up a new source of inspiration for me. I enjoy the infinite diversity side of it. Meeting and collaborating with different artists, engaging with followers and fellow content creators are all important moments in my creative process.
Eric: The way the pictures have organized themselves over time (through hashtags and feature accounts) have raised the overall creativity of the human race quite quickly. Many good ideas seem to have emerged from Instagram and that makes the whole community push itself to go further and come up with more striking visuals. I’ve been [on Instagram] for two years and things have changed so much. There’s a lot of thought to be had for each post, for each sentence that goes with the pictures. That obviously has affected the way I compose my images, the way I write online, and how I interact with people.
Charlie: The era of smartphones has exponentially increased the capacity of anyone on earth to take part in an incredible social experience like Instagram. It provides everyone a powerful tool to create and express free creativity through visual arts and photography in the simplest way. Instagram connects millions of people with whom we couldn’t ever engage with in real life, allowing unexpected chances to meet and interact. That’s how I have met and shared ideas and projects with a lot of artists around the planet.
Instagram is often hailed as an awesome place to meet other artists. Is there anyone you follow on Instagram who you either have or would like to collaborate with?
Fredy: Yes, I love what Lauren Ys is doing (@lolo.ys). I would love to sit down with her and doodle away. Her work is electric, and engaging. In some near future, I can start joining forces with local artists. Watch out world!
Julian: I particularly liked to work with @riomonka and @dimitryroulland. Both are great photographers who capture artists and gymnasts in action. I really loved the sheer number of possibilities to implement their content into my creative world.
Eric: On the first year of our project, Kim and I visited four countries in two months. We were by ourselves the whole time. Then by the beginning of our second year, we started to get quite active on Instagram and made some friends with whom we eventually met and started shooting. This is now part of our regular life. Everywhere we go on this planet, we have some Instagram friends. That makes the whole experience much more interesting as we spend time with them, they come with us to photoshoots, and well…most importantly… it always ends up around good food and wine.
Charlie: I have done really great collaborations with amazing guys. In particular, I had the honor to have worked with two people who I still define as my “Jedi masters,” @oliviermorisse and @erratum (unfortunately no longer online). My next wish (soon will be coming true) is collaborating with another amazing mind, @l_o_r_y (Laurent Rosset).