How Instagram is Shaping the Art World
Browse art consultant Jordan Watson’s collection and you’ll be treated to art in all its
forms, from fine art to contemporary, interwoven with sculpture, photography, digital
creations, and even a dash of performance art. While this may raise eyebrows within
circles of stoic art fans, who often gravitate towards a particular medium, it’s worth
noting that the majority of Watson’s somewhat haphazard means of curation doesn’t
take place in a gallery setting – instead, it’s all on his Instagram feed.
As an image-sharing platform, Instagram aligns perfectly with the visual arts. Since
launching his feed, @love.watts, Watson has garnered a 1.5 million following.
Stemming from this success, he’s partnered with another Instagram art favourite,
Aureta Thomollari (@aureta), to launch a series of similarly popular accounts –
@Watts.on, @Watts.place and @Greencouch – focusing on interior decor,
performance art, and lifestyle imagery viewed from a design-led angle.
While largely functioning as passion projects for their owners, accounts like Watson’s
and Thomollari’s mean a lot to the artists whose work features on them. Within
minutes, a @love.watts post can generate thousands of 'likes', thus giving the
featured artist a newfound following. It’s not only casual art fans following these
curated Instagram feeds, either; Watson’s accounts have generated a fan base
within the established dealer community, too, so burgeoning talent suddenly has the
opportunity for their work to be showcased in front of industry tastemakers.
For artists in the social media age, approaching galleries, applying for grants and
doing the rounds of shows and fairs are no longer the only established route to
success. Artists and designers like BP Laval, Polly Nor, Polly Collins and Amalia
Ulman have successfully leveraged social media to grow their audience and
generate sales. The Instagram art talent pool continues to grow, but it has a global
audience on its side; there’s a space for everyone, regardless of their niche or
medium. Plus, it makes sense for artists who might not have the funds or
connections that others do. Why sell your work in a gallery that takes a 50%
commission on your work, when you could showcase it in your own virtual gallery for
free? While gallery showings and art fairs have their own appeal, buying art on
Instagram couldn’t be simpler, with artists on hand to answer questions quickly via
direct messages, and many purchases handled in a matter of clicks.