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The Art of Instagram

Alexia Oerter discusses Instagram as a platform for sharing art and what authority it holds.

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Instagram is one of the most popular social media apps used to either show to your friends what you’re
currently doing with your life or to start a blog. But it has also rapidly become a platform to express
yourself, to share your art with a wider public. Whether this expression be through poetry, photography, drawing or any
other art form.

Instagram seems like a positive way to get yourself out there and gain confidence in your passions.

On the other hand, every established artist today has a professional Instagram account, created either before or after becoming fully recognised for their art. One example that comes to mind is, of course, Rupi Kaur. She first started sharing her work on Tumblr in 2013 before taking her writing to Instagram in 2014 and adding illustrations. It’s only after her success on
social media took off that she published her first collection of poetry “Milk and Honey” in 2014.

I think social media has a good and a bad side when it comes to the promotion of art. Especially when it comes to poetry, Instagram can make art more accessible and promote new,
contemporary artists who need to make their place out of the shadow of famous, illustrious, very talented, but very dead artists. Also, I think that it is a means to appeal to younger
generations.

Instagram, and most social media, is often quite obsessed by aesthetics and how everything looks on the surface

The downside is that Instagram, and most social media, is often quite obsessed by aesthetics and how everything looks on the surface, without caring too much about what it actually signifies in reality and the tangible life behind the pictures posted. If you look up Rupi Kaur’s poetry instagram, it obviously looks very beautiful, whether we consider her artwork or the
layout of the poems itself. But posting art on Instagram should not only be about its presentation; the aesthetics of the social media should not be replacing the power of the words themselves but rather enhance them – enhance the art to contribute to its power instead of occulting it.

Today, because everything is so public and can have such a worldwide impact, platforms such as Instagram
gain authority daily due to the fact that it is based on popularity with an audience. Publishers and agents want to have artists who are successful on Instagram to be their clients because they
know their audience has already been secured. Overall, I think social media is a good stepping stone for new artists who want to share their art and gain a foothold in such an unstable industry. It is also a good place for well-established artists who want to promote their work. However, I believe that artists of any kind should not succumb to the pressures and tacit rules of social media and should stay true to their art.

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