20 Artists killing it on Instagram

Grace Donelson

13 Jan 2021 · 6 min read

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In the infinite world of visual art mediums, the opportunity for innovation is everywhere- specifically, digital illustration has gained popularity as it has become more accessible. Many artists have turned to the digitization of their art through methods like Procreate and Adobe Photoshop. Conversely, artists who have not digitized their artwork are still seeing success and popularity through the help of social media.

Creative social media methods of sharing art processes on TikTok and YouTube or even participating in live streams while creating have become more popular. Many artists also offer commission requests, online courses, and even merchandise, boosting their engagement with audiences. While the Instagram benchmark engagement rate is sitting around 2% currently, the majority of the artists below are spiking well into the 10-15% engagement rate region.

Using the Tagger platform, we found these 20 visual artists working in a variety of mediums who are experiencing high engagement, mentions, and growth. Some are self-taught teens while others are classically trained teachers, but all have a passion for creating and sharing their artwork with the world.

  1. Colette Peri (@colette.peri) - One of Sony’s Alpha Females, stop-motion artist Peri has been consistently working with brands while simultaneously working to empower women in film and photography. Some of her clients include Califia Farms, Starbucks, 3M, and Doritos. She has also actively collaborated on sponsored posts with brands Maisonette and Cricut. While her account continues to grow at a steady rate (15.41%), her engagement rate remains high, with a 10% engagement rate on her some of her recent posts.
  2. Christina Lorre (@rawsueshii) - As Illustrator and Influencer behind the brand RawSueshii, Lorre’s platform has grown substantially in the past two months, with her Instagram account growing by nearly 50k in this time. Lorre’s art has been featured by celebrities such a Taraji P. Henson, Tamera Mowery, and SZA. With nearly 150 brand mentions from her Instagram account, these mentions all have at least a potential reach of 100k, some rising to 150k.
  3. Amber Day (@officiallyvisbii) - High profile clients such as Vogue, InStyle, and LA Times are only the beginning of Day’s impressive portfolio. Her engagement rate at 14.25%, the artist’s Instagram profile has seen major activity lately, effectively doubling her audience since September 2020.
  4. Dax Newman (@thedaxnewman) - Taking the world by storm when he went viral on TikTok for his pottery skills, 19-year-old Newman’s social following has grown on multiple platforms including his Instagram, Youtube, and of course, TikTok. The artist-turned-influencer has not only been featured in media outlets such as Buzzfeed, Cosmopolitan, and VICE but has also partnered with eco-friendly clothing brands CHNGE and ForDays (both brands which are also featured in last week’s listicle!).
  5. Min Heo (@minstudio_) - With illustrations in The New Yorker, The New York Times, and on Vogue.com, editorial illustration and illustration branding are Heo’s specialty, with creative and comedic pieces for multiple different mediums and media outlets. Heo’s Instagram following continues to grow as does her engagement rate, now at nearly 12% on Instagram photos, reaching higher than 20% on Instagram videos.
  6. Sophie Feher (@soaptears) - Artist and cartoonist Feher has a multiple-platform following, with profiles on live-streaming site YouNow and WebToon to update her ongoing cartoon series Imposter Syndrome. Feher’s engagement on Instagram has been over 20% since the beginning of December 2020, with her following growing by over 20k since the beginning of December as well.
  7. Lawrence Becker (@samplertimes) - With a high engagement rate and over 200 brand mentions on his page, Becker’s Stop Motion and 2D Animation artwork are not short of an audience. Becker’s TikTok account has 1.3million followers, his Instagram account quickly catching up. His Instagram regularly mentions a wide variety of brands including Nickelodeon, MTV, and Tillamook.
  8. Ava May (@exquisiteparadox) - Graphic designer and illustrator behind the brand The Exquisite Paradox, May makes 60’s and 70’s inspired work that encourages mindfulness and self-reflection. Featured in Origin Magazine and Mantra Wellness Magazine, May’s artwork can be found on her own website as well as on products on Society6. Her high engagement rates and growth rate of nearly 40% only further display her impressive platform, May’s recent collaboration with Fiorenza Art also boosting her account.
  9. Elena Fiorenza (@fiorenza_art) - Fiorenza’s graphic design and artwork aim to explore humanity through art. Fiorenza’s brand mentions have gathered high engagements, but her brand collaborations extend beyond this. With affiliate links from brands Family Q, Barner Blue Light Glasses, Unreal Fields Leather Goods, and even discounts on Domestika illustration courses, Fiorenza’s affiliate collaborations are regularly featured in her social media posts. Fiorenza’s Instagram has a consistent engagement rate averaging around 5%, and her Instagram following steadily grows.
  10. Yiniya (@yiniya.art) - Specializing in watercolor and illustration, Yiniya’s platform has incredible engagement on Instagram as well as her rapidly-growing Youtube channel. With engagement on recent posts over 30,000, Yiniya’s Instagram engagement rate has climbed to a steady 11% since December 2020.
  11. Gawx Art (@gawx_art) - Boasting 1.4M subscribers on YouTube, cartoonist and illustrator Gawx is known for his vibrant doodles and characters, bringing followers along to witness his processes and even extend some artistry knowledge through drawing tutorials. With over 150 brand mentions on his Instagram and a steady engagement rate of 12%, Gawx’s high Youtube and Instagram metrics work in tandem to promote his different platforms.
  12. Blair (@blossomblairart) - Between clever fruit-themed sketches and character illustrations, freelance artist Blair’s profile features engagement rates as high as 80% on her most engaged posts, with her profile’s engagement rate averaging around 18% as of January 12th. With some of her brand mentions being Disney, MTV, and the application Procreate, Blair’s potential reach with these mentioned posts has been 20,000 to 30,000 consistently.
  13. Joss (@crumbsandgubs) - Through watercolor and ink, Joss brings her audience into her world of characters, many of her prints featuring the spooky and abstract. Joss’s Instagram profile has a high growth rate and engagement rate, funneling followers to the Etsy shop linked in her profile where her art can be found for purchase. With her engagement rates regularly reaching over 50% on Instagram posts, her audience has also had a massive spike, more than doubling from 15k to 33k since November 2020.
  14. Jersey Geli (@jerseygelii) - Approaching 1M followers on TikTok, Geli’s Instagram following is kept up-to-date on her other profiles including TikTok and a budding Twitch account. Geli’s Instagram engagement rate is currently at 20%, but over the last month, it has climbed as high as 32%.
  15. Stephen Bauman (@stephenbaumanartwork) - Classically trained artist and instructor, Bauman offers online courses for artists while continually creating beautiful artwork. Bauman’s Instagram account has grown by over 100k in the past 6 months, his posts with brand mentions having a potential reach of nearly 350k. With a steady engagement and growth rate, Bauman’s platform only continues to grow as he consistently releases online art courses.
  16. Selah Butterfield (@selahsketches) - Found on multiple platforms, 17-year-old illustrator Butterfield’s ever-evolving digital artwork has found fame amongst viral TikToks and Instagram posts. Mentions of brands such as Procreate, Pandora, and Twitter are found on her Instagram account, these posts receiving a potential reach of nearly 40,000. Her engagement rates are well above the benchmark on both Twitter and Instagram, showing even more proof of the artists’ social media versatility.
  17. Audrey Hopkins (@audity) - Specializing in character design, concept art, and animation, Hopkins has found social media frenzy over her artwork on TikTok as well as her Instagram. Her Instagram engagement rate has been at a steady 13% for the past few months, just as her following has been growing at a steady increase. With 10.4M followers and 158.5M likes on her TikTok, Hopkins’ social media has seen positive growth and engagement in recent months, with her Twitter featuring a higher than average engagement rate as well.
  18. Vica Hernandez-Lew (@yayitsvica) - Illustrator and artist Hernandez-Lew creates “adorkable” illustrations, stickers, and other fun art pieces. Sponsored posts with Instagram and Staedtler craft supplies are among her most recent posts, all with a potential reach of over 30,000. Her engagement rates are just as impressive, with Instagram’s engagement rate at nearly 18%.
  19. Kiana (@mizzimickiamii) - With less than 10k followers on her Instagram profile at the beginning of 2020, Kiana’s profile has grown by over 150% in the past year. Her Instagram also boasts a 12% engagement rate, but recent months have seen it as high as 37% on popular posts.
  20. Adam Hillman (@witenry) - A unique spin on art mediums in the form of “object arranging,” Hillman’s photographic work is vibrant and striking, even reposted by celeb Gigi Hadid. Hillman’s account has received over 1.5k individual mentions, with brand mentions reaching nearly 400. Since March 2020, his account has grown by over 20% with a solid engagement rate of 7%.

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