Art in an Instant: Interview with Instagram Artist @PSOF

While apps like Instagram and Snapchat may seem to be contributing to the reduction of our attention spans and reduction of verbal language into symbols and memes, they also provide an important and revolutionary platform to artists all over the world with a pulse on the latest trends and technology. These artists are re-imagining not only the mode of presentation but the mode of art production. This is, in my opinion, the POP ART of our day.

While researching this phenomenon and swiping through Instagram, I came upon the artwork of @PSOF following the hashtag #Instaart. His work managed to grab my attention beyond the two-second swipe: the convergence between Street-Art and the strange comfort of online viewing seemed to challenge how I consume art online.  I reached out to the Moscow-based artist for an interview to ask him about his creative process.

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Photoshop run_2 @psof #nophotoshop

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What’s up with your name (or lack of a name)?

PSOF is the result of a very fast pronunciation of my surname and fighting with vowels.

Do you create your artworks directly on your cellphone?

If it is a photograph, I simply crop and post it. If it is a video, I use a computer for more complex methods. The main rule is for computer graphics not to interfere with the main idea.

How long on average does a post take to create?

It happens that an idea comes in the winter but needs to be shot in the summer. So the process can stretch for half a year. In addition, we take into account the location where the shooting will take place, daylight hours, and even in with direction the wind blows. For example, because of wind, it took 4 attempts to finish a shooting of blue smoke.

 

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watercolor painting @psof #psof #metamodernism

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We usually prepare props for several photoshoots at once. But sometimes everything happens spontaneously.

What inspires you most?

When you change the point of view or the direction of the lens, the nature and behavior of familiar things that we do not pay attention to in everyday life, and which art does not cover at all, changes.

Has Instagram influenced your creative process, and if so how?

Instagram is an accelerated exhibition site. The viewer does not need to go anywhere. You just take the phone, go to the social network, and leave a heart under the post.

The constraint between the viewer and the artist disappears. Also, you are competing with two hundred other works on Instagram that display pictures/records/views of others. Be it a joke, photoshop, collective shots… if a viewer comes across my work, then I get an instant reaction.

Instagram is an environment where there is a lot of creativity and you exist amongst it. We are the process, and the viewer is the result.

What did your work look like before Instagram?

Pretty standard. Paintings lying around at home, which were seen by 5-10 people who accidentally came to the exhibition once a year.

Do you present your works on other platforms or in non-digital environments (galleries or exhibitions)?

If they call me for an online exhibition, I am always happy. Sometimes we prepare several versions of a post at once and submit photos for different social networks that differ slightly from each other but at the same time retain the essence of the original work.

As for physical galleries, it is not yet clear how to exhibit those artworks. In our work, we use street magic, and it doesn’t really go along with gallery spaces which is why we look for new forms of exposure.

Do your works have names or titles?

Titles guide the viewer…this work is about this topic, the other work is about another topic, and a viewer can see something completely different which I didn’t even consider. I do not want to restrain their imagination.

How do you interpret the relationship between street art and Insta-art?

We bring the fresh air of the streets into the photographed, plastic world of Instagram. My Instagram – is a form of street art in itself.

What motivates you to keep posting?

Insta disciplines. I feel the need to publish 1-2 posts per week, so that there is a constant reaction of the viewer to my work. It motivates me like a good drug. It creates the illusion that someone is interested in my work.

 

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Swimming @psof #psof #performanceartist #imagin #funnypicsdaily

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Which other artists inspire you?

I am inspired by the memes of anonymous Net-izens who diverge in millions of print runs, and I see something new and lively in them.

 

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