There's a reason social media cleanses are so popular. From tedious things like being bombarded with notifications to anxiety-inducing pressures of racking up likes and curating an elevated (and often inaccurate, Pollyanna-esque) version of your actual life, there are many negative aspects of social media. Yet, at its core, the sentiment is nice: Social platforms allow us to share meaningful moments, connect with people, see beautiful images, and get a glimpse into the lives of inspiring individuals.
These positive byproducts are especially true to Instagram, particularly when you're following the right accounts.
So in the spirit of good vibes and finding beauty in the simple things, we decided to take a deep dive on Instagram to find some incredible creatives to follow. Though we wanted to include hundreds, we narrowed down the list to 11 emerging artists to follow on Instagram that will fuel your feed with funny messages, empowering thoughts, fresh perspectives, and awe-inspiring visuals. Read about them below, indulge in some optical delights, and find out where you can shop their work.
Mickalene Thomas's work transcends language, but if we had to sum it up in a few words, we'd go with powerful, transformative, and striking. Her mastery spans several forms, including large-scale paintings, immersive installations, collages, films and videos, photography, sculptures, print-making, and more. She's known for her use of elaborate, rich materials like rhinestones, acrylic, and enamel and vibrant colors. In her words, she "constructs complex portraits, landscapes, and interiors to examine how identity, gender, and sense of self are informed by the ways women (and 'feminine' spaces) are represented in art and popular culture"
Caroline Denervaud's artwork will move you, simple as that. Full of movement and emotion, her process is unique. She dances and moves freely, making marks on the canvas with paint. She also photographs and films herself while creating her work, which creates an interesting multidimensional element. Follow her account, @ideih, to get updates and to get a peek of her work on a regular basis.
If you love food and fashion (or both), this is going to be your new favorite account on Instagram. Gretchen Roehrs marries runway looks with fresh produce. Unique, clever, and whimsical, she's always posting great content that makes us want to play with our food (in a good way, of course).
If you love golden hues and warm shades of chocolate brown with a healthy dose of landscape photos, cool interior design vignettes, relationship goals, and introspective selfies, say hello to Aleksandra Zee. Not only is the warmth of her account like a big virtual hug, but it's also fitting considering her artistic background as a woodworker and her California roots. Her headboards, wall-hangings, tables, and more feature hypnotizing design and impeccable workmanship.
@Vickileelee's feed has it all: images of her process, her work displayed in homes, and up-close shots so you can get a better feel for the interesting materials she incorporates in her artwork. Lee collaborates with her husband Ted O'Donnell on their collection Tovl. Their work is bursting with vibrancy and vitality, which reflects Lee's journey as an artist. As she tells Vogue "I had an upsurge of what felt like very creative energy flowing through me, so I unwittingly bought paints, paint brushes, and canvases and locked myself in my room for almost the entire summer.
By the end of it, I'd lost the paint brushes and pretty much thrown paint over my entire room and carpet. I've never looked back."
Raychelle Duazo, who is @bombchelle on Instagram, is a queer femme Filipina-American artist. She fuses activism with colorful portraits, typography, and comics and "focuses on themes of love, heartbreak, loss, memory, identity, and place," With poignant captions and images of both herself and her work, this feed is like a surge of positivity, enlightenment, empowerment, and visual delight all rolled into one.
If you're ever looking for new mantras to boost your confidence, help you practice self-love, or just improve your general outlook, Amber Ibarreche's feed is the solution. The writer, designer, and artist makes pins, patches, hats, clothing, totes, prints, calendars, and more, all featuring messages from playful and funny to empowering and political.
Though Bianca Valle is an incredibly talented painter, she also makes room for beauty, wellness, and fashion-focused musings on her Instagram account, @vbiancav. So if you love following up-and-coming creatives who post a little bit of everything—think artistic process with outfit of the day looks mixed with honest, up-close, and personal glimpses into her everyday life—this is the feed you've been craving.
Ashley B. Chew, @ashchew on Instagram, is an artist and muse based in New York City. Her artwork, as well as her social feed, is a beautiful fusion of self-portraits, casual photos of her day-to-day experiences, street style shots, and her paintings. She's also the woman behind the movement #BlackModelsMatter, a hashtag that calls attention to the lack of diverse representation in the fashion industry.
Anna Ullman is a Los Angeles–based painter and printmaker. @aeustudio on Instagram, you can get a sense of her large-scale works along with inspiration and ideas about how to display her artwork in your own home. Her work is almost always abstract and geometric, but it varies greatly in terms of color and mood. Her black-and-white pieces are bold, graphic, versatile, and modern, while her bright, glitter-heavy artwork offers enthusiastic, whimsical pops of color.
Abigail St. Claire
And finally, we bring you Abigail St. Claire, a woman who "wears many hats. She is an artist, graphic designer, content creator, and florist (a jack-of-all-trades or a master of none, depending on your views)." Well, from where we stand, she's definitely a jack-of-all-trades, and it shows in both her artwork and her Instagram feed. With a healthy dose of photos with a cozy, unmade bed with just the right slant of light shining on it, cool coffee shops, book, and rose-cheeked portraits, it balances the aspirational with the accessible and simple.
In other words, her account is the creative lifestyle account we've all been looking for.