The 7 Best Artists to Follow on Instagram
Photo: Guzman (@lesguzman)
Instagram is like taking a studio tour without ever leaving your home, as it allows artists to create curated tours through their lives and their archives. Whether presenting new work, showcasing classics, revealing interesting stories about their practice, or simply just giving us a glimpse of the world through their eyes, Instagram gives them the power to present art on their terms.
In celebration, Crave has crafted a list of the 10 best artists to follow on Instagram. Dive right in and add a little soul to your daily feed.
Martha Cooper (@marthacoopergram)
Martha Cooper gets around, traveling to every corner of the globe documenting street art and culture in all its forms, whether at the Rock Steady Crew’s 40th anniversary last weekend at Central Park Summer Stage or going inside “the incredible secret So Called Compound, a dirt park built entirely by hand in the urban jungle” where BMX riders do their thing in Baltimore. Wherever Cooper is—it’s going down. Carmen Santiago wishes she had frequent flyer miles like this.
Alim Smith (@yesterdaynite)
You might have thought memes were just digital detritus, endlessly passing through life—but artist Alim Smith has given them their rightful due, crafting a series of provocative paintings inspired by some of the most popular ones. What’s more, his exquisite style embraces the Afro-Surrealist impulse, channeling the innovation of Kool Keith, the soul of Romare Bearden, and the beauty of classic African masks into twenty-first century masterpieces.
Guzman, the husband/wife photography team of Russell Peacock and Connie Hanson, have been staples on the photography scene for decades. Whether producing work for legendary fashion designer Geoffrey Beene. photographing Kurt Cobain, Courtney Love, and Frances Bean Cobain at home, or shooting Gabourey Sidibe for the cover of her memoir, Guzman is everywhere you are. Their Instagram account is the perfect mix of imagery, reminding us that life can be an act of art all its own.
Eisen Bernard Bernardo, the mastermind behind “Album+Art,” combines a love of pop culture and art history to stunning effect. He creates seamless mash-ups that combine classic albums with classical paintings that are equal parts charm and comedy, providing a sense of richness and depth that extends across centuries. We’ve all enjoyed the magic of Asahd living his best life, and Bernardo channels that spirit in his mash-up that combines Grateful by DJ Khaled with Portrait of an Artist (Pool with Two Figures) by David Hockney. This is just one of the many discoveries you will find on his Instagram, which breathes fresh life into the art world.
GHOST aka Cousin Frank (@cousinfrank_ris)
GHOST was one of the last kings of New York’s train writing era, and he made a name for himself taking graffiti to new heights as he let loose with a psychedelic style no one had seen before. Whether throwing wild characters and acid-laced colors into his work, or simply writing backwards because, hey, why not, GHOST embodied the phrase: Expect the Unexpected. His IG account, filled with pages from sketchbooks, historic photos, and paintings, is as close as just about any of us will ever get to the legendary recluse.
Joie Iacono (@joieiacono)
When New York “It” girl Joie Iacono packed her bags and headed to Berlin, we took to her Instagram to keep up with the high-flying life of this amazing artist and DJ. Her account offers a little something for everyone: sensational selfies, vistas of her trips across Europe, and the perfect smattering of fine art things new and interesting. We’re just patiently awaiting her return stateside, but til then, she keeps the feed fun and sexy, just how life should be.
Slava Mogutin (@slavamogutin)
Speaking of sexy, Slava Mogutin is always pushing the edge—and Instagram shows its true colors, taking down his posts. But Mogutin has never allowed censorship to win. As the first Russian to receive political asylum in the United States on the grounds of homophobic persecution in 1995, Mogutin has built his career on challenging the biases and fears of repressive regimes. His IG will leave you breathless as he constant challenges norms, breaking down barriers, and bringing together art, fashion, documentary, nudes, and porn into something you have never ever seen before.
Miss Rosen is a journalist covering art, photography, culture, and books. Her byline has appeared in L’Uomo Vogue, Vogue Online, The Undefeated, Dazed Digital, Aperture Online, and Feature Shoot. Follow her on Twitter @Miss_Rosen.