The influence of social media in my current practice – How Instagram effects my Work as an Artist

Social media platforms – worldwide phenomenas with seemingly unlimited possibilities. Network’s that cannot be grasped in their size, which connect an individual in the largest global communities. It helped user’s to find a better and faster way to communicate and share information with one another from anywhere with an Internet connection.
On the other hand though, its possible side effects include mental health issues, emotional insecurity, addiction, a high stress level, and anxiety just to mention a few. So how does this digital (bogus) world that nowadays exists parallel to reality manages to be such a central influence for my artistic practice?
It is frightening to realise that this virtual superpower is penetrating further and further into reality, meanwhile collecting more data about us than ever imagined in human history. Especially photo and video platform’s, such as Instagram start to dig deeper and deeper down into the brains of many and take over children’s sense of self-confidence and identity, whilst controlling where they spend their attention on.
This cause actually roots in our evolution, due to the fact that we evolved to care about whether people around us think well of us or not, with social media, social approval is being dosed to us day in and day out. As a result our whole generation is more anxious, more fragile, and much less comfortable taking risks.
Phenomena like these are also immensely based on an extremely dangerous type of persecution – cyber bullying. Extraordinary people/creative minds in particular are very likely to have to deal with a lot of judging hate. Personally, I experienced the power of cyber bullying after I started posting pictures of myself wearing clothing which did not fit in the mainstream. Insulting comments romped under my pictures and I received one or the other threatening direct message.
At the start I took it very much to heart and dared not to wear more unique outfits to school, but now I know that you can not avoid hate anyway. Through the process of growing up, I now even look back positively on the hate, because although it put a strain on me at that time, it ultimately only strengthened my personality and helped me in my development process. As a fact of this, Instagram has now become a platform for me where I can express my creativity and personality and share it with the world.

I find it particularly exciting that you quickly realise that you are not alone but that there are many creatives out there who share the same interests and have similar visions. For me there is no other place, where I can acquire access to plenty of peoples work and the latest trends so easily. That is because it differs significantly from museums, where only a limited number of artists can present their work.
On Instagram in contrast each individual owns a showroom within the endless Internet. Correspondingly, I would even go as far as to state that Instagram is the modern version of an art museum. In many points you can even argue that it is better, since one does not have to pay an entrance fee and additionally everyone decides just for themselves what they want to see in their personalized atelier. As a matter of fact, it has never been easier to obtain artistic inspiration, because with only just a few clicks one can access an infinite amount of creative work from all over the world.
My personal view on social photo and video sharing platforms is encouraged by an interview from the American musician Billie Eilish back in 2018 where she told TeenVogue,“I go on Instagram to see art”. It becomes clear that a whole generation is making use of this new type of connecting and marketing, allowing a few to even develop personal opportunities from it.
I love Instagram as it is a helpful tool, in the manner that it allows people who share the same interests and have similar visions to gather together in communities. Paradigmatic, I was invited to Paris to meet a group of streetwear influencers based there. Further I teamed up with photographers, fashion brands, and models to work on a variety of projects. All of this joint work has given me new food for thought, improved my creative way of thinking, and their ideas even influence my current practice.

(David Holzapfel, stud. ID: 13824147)


Published by Life in Media

Website dedicated to the Media Life/Life in Media project of Mark Deuze, Professor of Media Studies, University of Amsterdam (The Netherlands).

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