Last year in October, I joined the InkTober challenge. To fully participate and share what I drew each day I set up an Instagram account. Since then I’ve been using the app a lot. No, I’m not posting selfies every chance I get. It turns out that Instagram doesn’t only cater to teens and millennials and has more depth and purpose than posting vanity shots. Although, if that’s why you use it I’m not going to judge you for it. I’m sure if I felt healthier I’d probably post more than a few.
So, why have I continued to use it? First off, it’s an easy and somewhat addictive app to use. Once you select a few users to follow you’re sent suggestions for users with similar profiles e.g. photographers or news feeds. I can, and have, spent hours flipping through the feeds of some interesting people and organizations. National Geographic is one of my favourites because not only do the photographers on assignment post breathtaking images, the information accompanying the photos is informative and educational – I’ve become aware of some alarming global issues through that feed. It’s also a forum where I can easily post from my phone by adding short captions to photos – usually of my doodles –, which was great when my laptop died on me recently.
Apart from the ease of use, through Instagram, I’ve discovered so many things and people I would have had to search tirelessly over the interwebs or travel to find. Sure, some of them are things I never knew I had any interest in, but I think that’s what keeps me going back. For instance, I have discovered artists that work with materials and methods (pointillism, block printing, collage, linocut and chine-collé) I would never have imagined to create some of the most strikingly beautiful things I’ve ever seen. Whether they are starting out in their careers or seasoned experts, the commitment to their craft(s) is incredible to witness. I’m able to see the creative process of these artists and see how their work evolves over time.
Because of the window Instagram provides into who they are, I now own a few pieces of the artworks created by some of these incredibly talented people. Being stuck at home, as I am most of the time, the app is giving me the opportunity to virtually “travel” to meet and connect with these people so I can bring the beauty of their creations into my home. This is yet another thing I’m realizing I took for granted when I was healthy: going to galleries or interesting shops where I could find small treasures, which is now available to me in a way that doesn’t feel as impersonal as visiting an internet auction site.
Also, for someone like me who only uses art as a way to cope with illness, seeing all this talent is motivating me to continue my creative learning. I recently joined a weekly Instagram challenge called ‘IF Draw A Week’ that provides a drawing prompt for what to draw each week and then post it with the challenge hashtag. Along with my regular doodles, I hope this will be another way for me to improve my skills. If not, at the very least I have another outlet to connect with people while I pass the time.
If you’d like to see what I get up to on Instagram click here: @mysmallsurrenders