There are many social media outlets through which artists can showcase their work, but it is mind boggling for many to pick and choose which to use and which to forego. For instance, I keep bugging my amazingly talented graphic designer sister, Julie Rado, to get on Instagram. “I don’t want to have another reason to have my nose buried in my phone!” she said. Point taken. No one wants to be “that guy” who is so engulfed in posting, pinning, poking and tweeting that we lose touch with reality. However, social media is a powerful tool for artists that can help develop and show off your own personal style, as well as keeping abreast of what others in your field are doing.
Philly is home to a great number of artists, and many of them use social media to get their work out there. There are a few Philly artist Instagrammers who not only use the program exceptionally well, but are also trendsetters and totally ahead of the game. Here are 3 of my favorite Philly art peeps to follow (all profile descriptions are directly from their pages):
@StreetsDept : Conrad Benner
Born and raised in Fishtown, Philadelphia. Photojournalist. Lover of street art, graffiti, and urban exploration. http://streetsdept.com
All you have to do is look at the number of followers that StreetsDept has on Instagram (a quaint 93 thousand) to realize one thing: This guy KNOWS street art. You’ll also notice that Benner makes it a point to interact with his followers who comment, which has to be a challenge given his number of followers; he is genuinely interested in what you have to say and you will be noticed. I’ve picked up a few other important cues from Mr. Benner that I feel help me stay current as an artist, Instagrammer, and lover of all things Philadelphia. First off, he uses VSCO Cam with his pictures. According to Ellis Hamberger, “Instagram set[s] out to make your mobile photos look good, VSCO hopes to make them look real.” It’s the photographer’s photo app, so if you’re a film enthusiast, check out the VSCOCam app.
Another really cool thing that sets StreetsDept above the pack is that he often takes over the feed of Visit Philly as a “guest Instagrammer” (see below). This is a fascinating and lucrative career for an artist—if you have thousands of followers, that is!
@adam_wallacavage : Adam Wallacavage
Photographer, Chandelier maker, Militant Ornamentalist. For chandelier inquiries, contact JonathanLeVineGallery.com or awallacavage@gmail http://WWW.ADAMWALLACAVAGE.COM
Adam’s original inspiration for creating these Octopus chandeliers was from the octopus on Wednesday’s bed (Addams Family comic books). He is also a photographer, which explains the amazing photo editing skills documenting his work, unbelievable travel adventures/parties, and his love of the Philly skateboarding scene. Not to mention all of the super creepy and fascinating details of his house, which I really have to see in person someday. Adam has totally mastered the video capability of Instagram, which not many people can say. Notice the underuse of hashtags and tagging other people, which is refreshing- but when you already have 48 thousand followers, using these sparingly is A-OK. Scrolling through his comments you can see how many people are interested in buying one of his chandeliers–he wisely provides that information right in his profile description.
Adam is a great example of a Philly artist who has mastered the art of documenting his work on Instagram.
and makes them into stuff you can buy, which is even cooler- and posts it on Instagram, referring you back to his storefront where you can purchase it.
Street art has a history of being controversial, as it can be considered illegal and under the same umbrella as graffiti, vandalism, and defacing property. That’s why it’s so interesting and ballsy to see it being sold, as sometimes the artists prefer to stay anonymous. Well-known street artists like Shepard Fairey do have merchandise for fans, although that is sometimes controversial too…but if that jawn wasn’t making people mad, it wouldn’t be any fun, now would it?