|Along the East Bench, 16″ x 20″, oil on canvas|
DURING the opening of my abstract show the gallery director for the event suggested I post images of the show on Instagram. Since I didn’t have an account she showed me how to set one up, taking a photo for my profile, and giving me a quick tutorial about hash tags. Before I knew it I had a respectable looking feed and several followers.
Since then the same gallery, Alpine Art, decided to mount a one-person show of my woodcuts in April 2016. The intermittent abstract posts evolved into daily posts about the art of woodcut. I have also posted images of my print studio and equipment and have purposely kept the captions informative but short. So far I have 43 woodcut related posts with 233 images to go (I use the app T-Zero to calculate the days until the show).
I’ve been pleased with the success of Instagram. In a matter of months I have 129 followers. By contrast I’ve been blogging via Blogger for six years and, even though I have over a half million visits, I only have 178 followers. Instagram is primarily a visual medium and is perfect for visual artists. It’s easy to see who is worth following with no obstacles to hitting the follow button.
I do have some complaints–the resolution size on phones is quite small. I wished you could click on the images to get close ups (which you can do on the Saatchi app). I also wish I could track my own likes, like Pinterest, to keep a log of favorite images. They have a like button for connecting with other users but a love button for compiling an archive of your favorite images would be a plus. Although the feed with Instagram is uncluttered I wish you could post with italics, bold, and other graphic flourishes to make the text even more visually engaging. But even as it is Instagram makes Twitter and Facebook look as inviting as a tax form.
Contacting people is not as easy as it should be, either. I listed this blog in my profile and got a message saying it was an illegal URL meaning you can’t have the word blogspot in the address–a futile attempt to make Instagram (which is owned by Facebook) a proverbial walled garden. I got around the lame prohibition by using a Tiny URL address.
One thing I like is posting simultaneously to Facebook with a large image. But simultaneous posts to Twitter are text only which is pretty pointless with a visual medium like Instagram. People can still follow me via Facebook or Twitter, I just post automatically to them via my Instagram account which keeps my life simpler.
I use the app InsTrack to get analytics although it’s pretty clunky and is always needing a buck or two to expand its usability which is hugely irritating. If you know of a better Instagram analytics app please comment below.
In short, Instagram is currently my social media of choice. If you want to follow along click the link to the right of this post. I hope you’ll give it a try. I look forward to your comments either on this blog or via Instagram.
UPDATE: As of August 2015 you can simultaneously post to Twitter with a high resolution image.
Brad Teare– August 2015