I recently caught up with co-owner and marketing mastermind behind Boston co-retail space For Now, Kaity Cimo. She runs the space with friend and business partner Katharine ReQua. They opened a year ago and have played home to over 80 brands in that time.
Seven of the Top Instagram Artists and Galleries to Follow
So you’re an established or aspiring artist trying to build a fanbase and you’ve decided to do that on Instagram. Great! Instagram is an ideal platform to build an art following because it’s designed to share visual media and is ripe with consumers (with more than 500 million active users per day).
People build MASSIVE followings on Instagram in a variety of niches, but mastering your Instagram marketing game is more than just posting a photo and spamming all the hashtags you can (P.S. check out why spamming hashtags is a bad idea that can actually harm your account).
To succeed as an art influencer, you need to have a solid bio, a consistent content plan and track your metrics to see what you’re doing right or wrong. While this might sound like a lot, it’s totally doable to manage your Instagram artist account yourself. In fact, we’ve compiled several Instagram artists doing just that – read on to see how these Instagram art influencers are building their followings and marketing their accounts.
Our favorite Instagram artist influencers
We’re starting out with a bang! Banksy is arguably one of the most prolific artists of our time. He’s got over 6 million followers and isn’t following a single person back. That’s #influencergoals if we’ve ever seen it! But admittedly, he’s the exception rather than the rule. When you’re as famous as Banksy, you don’t have to do a lot of work to market yourself.
He’s known for his street art.
And it pretty much speaks for itself. Even if you don’t know him by name, you’ve probably seen his work before.
The Girl and Balloon might be his most famous – or infamous – piece, as he shredded it when it was sold at auction! But if you missed the news, don’t worry. He actually links to it in his bio.
And that’s about as wild as his marketing goes. It’s rare that he uses promotions, collaborations, or even hashtags on his content. And when he does, it’s his own hashtag.
Key takeaways: Banksy is a household name, so he doesn’t really need to do much to market his art on Instagram. But he does still link back to his website in his bio, and he tends to post captions with most of his content so that he can connect more with his followers.
Osgememos is Portuguese for “The Twins” and the name fits with their branding as these artists are identical twin brothers. Credited with helping define Brazil’s current art scene, they specialize in street art.
You’ll notice a lot of their pieces feature characters with yellow skin due to the yellow tinge they both claim to have in their dreams. Their work ranges from tags to murals, and the subjects range from family photos to political commentary to Brazilian folklore.
They also mix up the art content they share with touching moments including family and friends. Here they share a peek into their personal lives with their followers.
They do use hashtags where appropriate.
They also use their art Instagram content to promote when and where they have exhibits.
And finally, they use their work to connect with their audience even more by making bold statements and speaking directly to the people impacted.
Key takeaways: Osgememos use their bio wisely by linking back to their website but they also use their content as part of their strategy as well. By both sharing glimpses into their personal lives and sparking conversations about important topics to their audience, they conjure emotion into their content, which we know boosts engagement. Finally, they also use their content to market their art shows and exhibits.
James Jean can be described not only as an Instagram art influencer, but also a wildly popular IRL art personality. He initially began as a comic book cover artist and immediately started winning industry awards, including six Eisners for “Best Cover Artist”. He quickly built a name for himself as an advertising artist, working for clients the likes of Time Magazine, Target, Rolling Stone, ESPN, Prada, and more. He’s also collaborated with Dr. Dre for his Beats By Dre headphones, and popular American Rock band My Chemical Romance on their album art for The Black Parade.
If you noticed in his bio, he links to an art museum Instagram account where he has an exhibit currently showing.
He also has a lot to share in his story and has individual sections for interesting projects or clients with whom he’s worked.
His art style tends to be colorful, animated, and whimsical.
Sometimes, he uses his content to tease new releases he’s got coming out
He also uses his content to encourage pre-orders for his work. Here, he links directly to the shop where his new book is being sold.
But it’s not all art. He mixes his content up with some fun pop culture references his audience is likely to enjoy.
Key takeaways: James Jean uses a lot of techniques to market his brand and his art on Instagram. He hits the ground running by using his bio to not only link back to his website but also to the account of the art museum hosting his current exhibit.
Jean never misses a chance to use his content to self-promote and let fans know when and where they can buy his new pieces.
Audrey Kawasaki specializes in oil paintings directly on wood panels. Her style is a mix of art nouveau and Japanese manga, typically portraying young or adolescent women, sometimes with a light erotica theme.
After dropping out of the Pratt Institute due to a disagreement on her style, she now works as a full-time artist selling prints of her work as well as other products and cover art.
Right off the bat, Audrey uses her stories to share specific projects or items she’s working on.
The content she shares is a mix of her artwork, videos of her working on the pieces, and advertisements informing fans where they can purchase.
She also doesn’t miss an opportunity to communicate directly with her fans. Here you can see she’s informing them of maintenance on her site, and handling her customer service right on Instagram.
In full-on art Instagram influencer mode, Audrey frequently connects with her audience by sharing candid shots into her personal life.
But that doesn’t mean she’s forgotten about business. Check out how she takes advantage of the winter holidays to advertise her products and where fans can purchase them!
Here she shares more content she has for sale and mentions the convention where her pieces will be featured. Because she tagged the art convention’s IG account itself, she’s also directing traffic from their account to hers.
Key takeaways: Audrey is one of the top painters on Instagram for all of the right reasons. She makes sure to post regular images of her art and often promotes opportunities for her fans to buy. She engages with followers regularly by sharing glimpses into her life as well as speaking to her consumers directly. Finally, she makes sure to promote her work during the holidays and lead fans directly to where they can purchase.
Johnson Tsang is one of the leading sculptors on Instagram. His work is mostly a mix of realistic faces, cartoonish exaggerations, and cherubic baby-faced pieces. But he also tends to throw a few comic and surreal pieces in as well.
He’s particularly fond of showing off his face sculpting skills.
He also uses his Instagram to show off when his art has been featured in publications.
Here he uses a mix of appropriate art hashtags on a video where he dives a little deeper and lets fans into his process.
As with any good art influencer, he shares content advertising his upcoming exhibits.
It’s not all business, though. Sometimes he gives his followers a bit of insight into how he uses art for fun in his day to day life.
But he doesn’t forget what his account is for. Check out how he’s marketing for his T-shirt designs with links to where fans can buy.
Key Takeaways: Johnson Tsang is pretty much a self-made art influencer. If you check out his site (linked in his bio), you’ll see that it’s a pretty basic WordPress site that hasn’t been filled out much. But he still manages to get a lot of traffic and engagement thanks to his Instagram success.
Our favorite art galleries on Instagram to follow
Despite the Museum of Modern Art being a brick and mortar museum, they’re all about sharing their goodness online and have definitely reached Instagram art influencer status with over 4.5 million followers. Although this art behemoth speaks for itself, they still make time to market themselves on Instagram to get more eyes on their featured art.
Moma uses their stories to showcase its magazine, upcoming exhibits, and other points of interest the museum has going on.
Of course, they also show off pieces the museum has on display.
They also use their Instagram to promote upcoming events and provide links where followers can learn more.
And finally, they use art quotes on some of their more popular pieces to dive deeper into the art and provide some education and emotional connection for their audience.
High Fructose is a contemporary art magazine founded by artists Attaboy and Annie Owens. They tend to specialize in alternative art and feature both established and up-and-coming artists. While the magazine is distributed quarterly, they’re also making waves as they try and grow their Instagram to 1 million followers.
Their Instagram content is usually curated pieces from the magazine, making their page a gallery composed of the variety of artists they’ve worked with.
They use popular Instagram trends like #tbt when appropriate.
And they also get personal with their audience. This image caption is all about their humbling roots, reaching out to featured artists, and looking back on how far they’ve come.
They never forget to remind followers when new or special edition prints are in and direct people on where to buy them – they are a business after all!
Tips on how to leverage your pieces to become a top Instagram artist
Obviously, you’ll want to share your pieces to become an artist to follow on Instagram. But instead of just snapping a quick pic on your phone, uploading it, and calling it a day – there are a few steps you can take to increase your chances of success.
Remember, with so many active users on Instagram you want to give your content the best chance at standing out from the crowd.
Here are a few things to consider when uploading to your Instagram art account:
- Use high-quality images. With so many downloadable filters and options built right into the app, people expect great images when they’re scrolling through their feed. Don’t demean your awesome creation by mucking up its visuals with bad image quality.
- Use good lighting. We’ve all seen photos distort colors, sizes, and every other aspect of reality with no rhyme or reason. But when you show off your art, you want to make sure you’re really capturing it. Unless you’re a digital artist and can upload your piece as-is directly from your device, you need to make sure images of your art don’t get mangled or misinterpreted from reality to photo.
- Focus on your art. Remember that your art Instagram account is a business account and should not be treated like a personal one. Yes, it’s fine to post insights into your personal life here and there, but your main focus should be your art or ways to promote it.
Do you have any tips or tricks to marketing your Instagram art content to reach influencer status? Share them with us so we can help other influencers grow!
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