People of Instagram Project

Artist's Statement "The People of Instagram Project" by Carole Nataf


‘The People of Instagram Project’ seeks to materialize the everyday practice of self-portraits and selfies on instagram. Through oil painting, I provide them the material existence of an object while emphasizing the contemporary frames they fit in : “likes”, “comments” and “shares”. In the tangible object of a painting, I explore the permanence of social media visuals, despite their immediacy and digital nature.


Reference models are selected from public instagram newsfeeds, browsing the hashtag “selfie”. Portraits are painted in oil allaprima technique (wet on wet), on a square cotton canvas. The instagram header and footer and their functionalities appear on the canvas. Once the painting is finalized, it is posted on instagram and the reference model’s instagram account is tagged. With this process, I hope to showcase the paradox of social media, offering high control over self-representation but no control in their appropriation by somebody else, like me.


In this series of portraits painted from instagram pictures, I compose with high exposure and saturation, distorted colors from filters and close up, high angle poses. This results in unusual compositions and color harmonies, comical effects and sometimes a more serious touch. I take a playful approach to self-presentation on social media rather than moralizing. I believe transposing Social Media Culture to Fine Arts enables us to shift perspectives and reflect on our reflection with fresh eyes.

Four paintings from the People of Instagram project will be part of  the 'Gray Area' Exhibition at Kingston Gallery, Boston,  MA from January 31 to February 25, 2018 .