Is your Instagram feed looking a little bland?
Let's back up. Do you have an Instagram feed?
If you answered yes, no, or maybe to either of those questions, this list is for you.
More than any other social media outlet, Instagram's endless scroll of eye candy is built to showcase the talent, curiosity and creativity of visual artists. (Try to locate the pulse of Buffalo's art or theater communities on Twitter, for instance, and you will be sorely disappointed.)
Buffalo's hyperactive visual art community is taking full advantage of Instagram's audience-building potential. To whet your appetite for a trip to the galleries, here are 12 Buffalo artists to add to your daily Instagram diet:
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Tricia Butski's charcoal drawings are like fragmented memories set down on paper and then immediately submurged in murky water. Butski's method of drawing vascillates between photorealism and realistic abstraction. According to her statement, it's a process that "corresponds to the experience of forgetting the semblance of the face, the body, and the subject." Her work is now on view in 500 Seneca St. as part of the newly launched Cass Project.
How many artists can claim that they received a gallery show specifically because of their work on Instagram? Recent Buffalo transplant Pam Glick certainly can -- her exhibition at White Columns Gallery in New York City, where she first exhibited in 1980, came after a curator chanced across her work on the digital platform. Glick's work, according to a statement from White Columns, uses Niagara Falls as "a recurring visual metaphor for both the inevitability of change and the potential for renewal - which she subsequently abstracts and deconstructs, creating in turn visceral, complex, and labyrinthine paintings that suggest a form of psychological and emotional mapping."
Buffalonians will recognize Gelen's work from playbills and posters for the Irish Classical Theatre Company, as well as presence at local art festivals. His style is clean and crisp, and would seem like a throwback to an earlier time were it not for its contemporary subject matter and Gelen's style, which employs dramatic shifts in color and shadow to give weight to the overall composition. He's also known for his cheeky illustrative inventions, as the above portrait of Donald Trump demonstrates.
For many years Ani Hoover was known to Buffalo's art community for her experiments with colorful, dripping circles. They appeared on almost every imaginable surface -- tall sheets of yuppo paper, intersecting pieces of wood, the concrete exterior of Starlight Studio and Gallery -- and became her trademark symbol. In recent years, though, Hoover has branched out into sculpture, employing fabric, used bicycle tiers and other materials to create alluring pieces that seem to mirror organic forms.
A.J. Fries captures the banality of daily life in Western New York in a way that is anything but banal. His photorealistic paintings depicting slushy the Grand Island bridges on a slushy day or the pooling of water on a windshield have the effect of focusing the viewer's attention on the beauty of their quotidian surroundings. Because Fries paid attention to them, his work seems to say, they are worth paying attention to. His work is also notable for its wide range of influences, which range from great history painters to heavy-hitters of the contemporary art world, such as Ed Ruscha.
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A relatively recent addition to Buffalo's art scene, this duo of muralists has been on a mission to transform Buffalo buildings and walls into sharp, geometric abstractions that arrest the attention of passers-by. Their most jarring work, "Tower of Power," is a gleaming gold statement in the shadow of the Trimain Building designed to catch and reflect the morning and afternoon sunlight.
Trained in the dark arts of illicit graffiti, Tom Holt is also known as a prolific sketcher. He has filled dozens upon dozens of notebooks with his strange inventions that point up the absurdities of daily life, as well as his own preoccupations and insecurities. He puts some of the best of the up on his Instagram account, which is more than worth follow for the almost daily dose of whimsy he provides.
The muralist and illustrative painter Chuck Tingley is the most successful member of Buffalo's anti-commercial, resolutely non-academic art community. He emerged from the creative collective of artists that gathered around Marcus Wise's now-defunct 464 Gallery on Amherst Street, and has developed a reputation for bold, colorful and inventive takes on the human visage. His upcoming project -- the largest yet in his career -- is a series of more than two dozen portraits of Civil Rights leaders that will be installed along a 300-foot concrete wall on Buffalo's East Side.
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For several years, Chris Fritton was the print shop manager of the Western New York Book Arts Center, where he stained his hands with ink in the shop's basement and churned out hundreds of gig posters and other letter-pressed pieces on WNYBAC's ancient equipment. But a couple of years ago, Fritton set out on the road as part of an open-ended project he has dubbed The Itinerant Printer. His fascinating Instagram account is a record of his travels around the world, replete with his own hand-printed inventions and those of his many collaborators.
Painting in progress. The Mysterious Art Trio, 2016, oil on 24x20 canvas. Based from a photo during my art reception/opening at Castellani Art Museum of Niagara University (1/24/2016). #robertjharrispaintings #robertjharrisart #oiloncanvas #canvaspainting #paintingoncanvas #portraitpainting #gamblincolors #fashionpainting #fashionart #niagarauniversity #castellaniartmuseum #castellani #buffaloartist #contemporarypainting #contemporaryartist #2016art #artopening #artreception #paintinginprogress
You can't attend an art opening in Buffalo without running into Robert Harris, an omnipresent figure who is also a prolific portraitist. His work, Castellani Art Museum Curator Michael Beam wrote in a statement accompanying Harris' 2016 solo show there, "are painted with intentional flatness, purposefully devoid of slick refinement and bound with sturdy black contour lines. His paintings, on occasion, pay homage to historical figures, religious deities and fictional characters."
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The dark and sometimes disturbing work of Craig LaRotonda is known by hundreds in Western New York, but his following is international. The popularity of that work, which can often be seen in the Hertel Avenue gallery he runs with his wife Maria Pabico LaRotonda, is reflected in his Instagram following of nearly 4,000.
When it comes to international reputation, no Instagram-dwelling Buffalo artist or designer has done better than Julian Montague. Known for his clean, considered and austere style heavily influenced by the artists of the Bauhaus and throughout 20th century Europe, Montague's many projects include the cataloging of stray shopping carts and an ongoing series of fake books designed to look like midcentury tomes. (A favorite example: Gerhard Otto's "Arachne's Children: Beliefs and Practices of the Newfane Commune.")