This week, the buzzed-about British artist, Juno Calypso, published an immaculately staged photograph on her thriving Instagram account, @junocalypso. The image – which depicts Calypso emerging from a spherical glass pool, clad in a nude bathing suit, translucent face mask and towering flame-red wig – is the latest in a series of beautifully macabre self-portraits, taken under the guise of her alter-ego Joyce in order to: “perform studies into the rituals of modern beauty and seduction”. Calypso is just one of many bright young creative luminaries that is using the pioneering social service to post original, ground-breaking artworks to a virtually infinite network of people – be it critics, collectors, contemporary gallerists, admirers – or simply those in search of something new, something hyper-stimulating among the monotonous streams of selfies that have become all-too-common clickbait.
While the use of Instagram as a universally legitimate platform for emerging and enduring creatives to showcase their work has been the subject of great debate since its inception in October 2010, there’s certainly no denying its power. Today, with over 400 million subscribers, who collectively upload a staggering 80 million plus images each day – Instagram is providing the world with an entirely new way to discover, access and interact with art, photography, design and fashion from around the world, igniting the careers of under-the-radar talents in the process. “Instagram has given me an immediate and vastly connected outlet to curate my own images,” affirms the London-based photographer Samuel Bradley, who has published his vivid, off-kilter documentary-style images on Instagram since graduating UCA Farnham in 2012: “The ability to share work outside of its intended or original purpose means that I can show photographs which don’t have a place, or reinterpret existing imagery in an entirely new context. Being a photographer is exhaustingly self-analytical, so anything that forces me to dissect and evaluate my own output in a public forum is immensely useful.”
Bradley, with the aforementioned Calypso, are two of ten innovative talents that are featured in a new one-day exhibition at the Kachette space in East London, entitled: Emerging Voices. Curated by Instagram Founder Kevin Systrom @kevin, Instagram’s Head of Fashion Partnerships, Eva Chen @evachen212 and Dazed Co-Founder Jefferson Hack @jeffersonhack, the exhibit aims to identify and highlight the next generation of creative voices, whose unique and experimental feeds are not only elevating their own artistic practice, but indeed the very nature of Instagram as an avant garde artistic outlet. “All of the artists who are participating in this exhibition are brilliant. They’re a young generation that are using the platform in a way that I haven’t seen it used before,” explains Hack, adding: “They all have a very individualistic approach and they’re all doing something that’s highly imaginative, and that’s what excites me.”
From an ingenious make-up artist, to a passionate documentary photographer and an art-cum-eco-enthusiast who operates under the pseudonym Glacier Girl, here we zoom in on the ten compelling creatives featured in the exhibit for your double-tapping delectation. #emergingvoices
“The diversity of these accounts, from Juno Calypso’s creepy, amazing pictures of a green hand creeping over a bathtub, to Sam Coldy’s graphic designs, is what inspires me every morning when I open my feed. I don’t know what I’m about to see, but I know I’ll be inspired” – Eva Chen
“I’ve been really excited about how people are using photographs now – they’re investing in meta-formats, finding different ways to utilise the traditional square format and break the geometry” – Kevin Systrom
“I like being able to look inside the mind of someone really interesting and creative – not at a stream of selfies, but at innovative photography, art and design. There is a new wave of young people using Instagram in a way that it hasn’t been used before, and it’s really inspiring” – Jefferson Hack