Instagram Abstract Art, Volume I

By Anonymous

I am going to put this up front so that everybody can see this. I am not a photographer. I have no knowledge of framing or lighting or focus. I can write a book any day of the week, but the minute you set me behind a camera and tell me to take a photograph of a tree, I couldn’t do it.

What I am good at, though, is messing around with Instagram pictures to make photos look weird and bizarre.

So one day, I figured I would try to combine my sloppy photography skills with the various filter options available on Instagram. And that was the day I created a new art form. It involves taking Instagram pictures with the mindset of trying to create something akin to an abstract painting. This process, which I like to call “filter fucking”, essentially turns the concept of Instagram upside-down and beats it to death until it excretes a square picture. It takes inspiration from works of those like Duchamp, and its main idea is: art can come from anything, if you only make it art. You can take a picture of anything, and if your intent is to make that picture art, then you can do wondrous things with it.

I guess you could say that these pictures are anti-Instagram, in that they do go against what the main purpose of Instagram is. That’s not what I’m concerned with. In my mind, Instagram is merely the tool I use to make my art. It is my brush, my pencil, my camera. I don’t think about the philosophy behind the art, and what the art itself stands for. In the end, all I want to do is take pictures.

Here is a sample of the pictures I have taken.


Shipwreck, 1884

Several of my pictures abuse patterns of certain objects, like walls, rugs, and in this picture’s instance, bedsheets. The colors that I chose for this picture, alongside the presence of shadows in the corners, reminded me of the bottom of the ocean. It also reminded me of pollution, and when you think about it, shipwrecks are just another form of polluting the oceans. And that was where the title of this picture comes from. Note that, just like in other pictures I assign them to, the year has no significance; it is just a number.

When the Sun Threw Up

This picture is a sort of study of bad quality photos taken with phones. The picture itself is of a human leg, contained within a vignette around the edges of the photograph. It gave me the impression that it was some sort of rough-shaped planet, and as I experimented with lighting, it looked more like a sun. But it also reminded me of vomit, and other gross things (the leg hairs in the picture look like worms, for example), and I thought to myself: if the sun could throw up, that would be a huge mess.

"Foundations!" She Cried, Through the Inevitable Fog of Modern Times

Yet another picture of a human leg, this time looking more like a sort of impressionist version of what a leg would be. The “foundation” aspect of the title comes from the fact that the picture appears to me to be a roof without a building beneath it. I think it’s a wonderful image myself. It sounded to me like something somebody would be crying out (“That roof doesn’t have any foundations underneath it!”).

Bigfoot (Never)

I generally don’t have an agenda when making these pictures; most of the filters being applied are spontaneous and randomly selected. But when I took this picture (of a wooden desk), I realized that the picture was of very bad quality. Too blurry, no clear subject. I almost considered discarding the picture, and then I had an epiphany: aren’t all those supposed pictures of Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monsters and other similar figures of the same bad quality? Not being a believer in these supernatural characters myself, I transformed this picture into a statement about chasing fictional creatures.


This is one of my favorite pictures to make: taking something and making it, artistically, something else. The original object itself, the side of a bathroom stall, is almost unrecognizable in the final product. A lot of contrast was applied to this picture to give it the appearance of a collection of circles. I couldn’t decide, when titling this one, whether or not it looked like a bird’s-eye-view of a forest, or a group of animal eggs. So I mashed the two ideas together into one, and since both have “ation” words associated with them, it made sense to put the both of them together.

Drink! (Red Blood Cells)

This is yet another picture that has an agenda, though this one is not as important to the quality of the picture itself. The photo is of the side of a Coca-Cola vending machine, which I kept with the distinct red coloration. The front of the vending machine says “Drink! Coka-Cola”. It seems that the vending machine is ordering you to drink, as if it was imperative to your life to do so. The red blood cell comparison also comes from this, as red blood cells are an important part of life’s function, while Coka-Cola is not.

New Orleans (Pure)

Similar to the above picture, this is a picture of a vending machine - this one of an Aquafina one. This is where the “Pure” aspect of the title comes from, as part of its tagline is “pure water”. But the main aspect of this picture is the flowing lines and bright color contrast, which comes from waving the phone around as I took the picture. It looked like a piece of art around the 20’s and 30’s, when jazz was starting to pick up. This correlation to jazz artwork was the basis for the New Orleans part of the title.

Rush Hour Tokyo, 2159

For the last piece, I used the same technique of waving my phone around as I snapped the picture, this time with the camera pointed at the ceiling at the moment the picture was taken. The colors I chose reminded me of a train station, and the blurry lines reminded me of trains. With the sort of neo-design of the shapes, it reminded me of a semi-futuristic Japanese city. Thus, the title made the picture a representation of rush hour in Tokyo. Once again, the year is incidental.