Valued at 35 billion US dollars in 2014 and with an average of more than 800 million users per month and growing, there is no doubt that Instagram has caused a storm in the art world, allowing for more and more artists to obtain popularity and, as a result, worth. Is it wrong to assume that the social media application has blurred the lines between the prestige associated with art and the perceived inability to achieve success in such a career?
Maria Solias, from Colombia, began her journey into the art world with uploading photos of a student project onto Instagram. From this, she gathered a following of 10.9k individuals, printed an array of garments & storybooks, and gained a loyal fanbase that shares their thoughts and opinions in the comments. The art world was once a place for pompous people to stare at new pieces in a famous gallery, pretending to understand the message of a painting. Now, an average girl in the prime of her studies can make a living from Instagram.
We can all communicate and discuss directly with the artist about their intentions. This newly-found global audience is definitely beneficial in bringing the art world closer – into people’s homes, lifestyles and journeys – with the touch of a mobile phone. Once, such careers seemed impossible. Now, however, it is clear that all users have the opportunity to use social media and global interactions to develop their own successes.
Individual artists are not the only people using Instagram to their benefit. Arts institutions are also trying to impress Instagram users. For example, the Museum of Ice Cream in the US is an incredible, and if one will, Instagrammable exhibition that has benefited from the app. With large, suspended displays of fruit in rainbow colours, a pool filled with sprinkles as if a childhood dream and, of course, ice cream, this institution has attracted a following of users and visitors through the posting of content.
It is evident that Instagram is a visual space that can benefit various art careers. Given the approaching end of university for many of us, perhaps social media is the answer to all anxiety and worry. Of course, popularity and fame is not a given or an immediate result of posting work, however Maria Solias proves that a pastime can certainly turn into a dream.