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6 People Who Are Making Instagram, Art, and Fashion Way More Fun

Roundup: Funniest Artists/Fashion People

I’ve always loved when people have toed the line between one thing and another. Being at an intersection of two special things—or several unexpected things, even—is the stuff that makes the earth turn. To be eclectic! Multifarious. Boundless. [Insert SAT word here.]

For many artists who would describe themselves as such, Instagram has become a platform for them to show off the many feathers in their hat—in some cases, literally. In the past few years I’ve specifically noticed—via Instagram, my primary platform other than TikTok—a preponderance of artists who have engaged specifically in the Venn diagram overlap of fashion, irreverence, and, of course, artistry. From egg bralettes to shoes with teeth, every time these artists’ pieces slipped into my Instagram feed, my eyeballs would wobble in their sockets for a bit and I would think How did they come up with something this unique???

As a long-time fan of these creative minds, I decided it was time to be a first-time caller. Below, I ask six of the creatives occupying this special corner of the art world (and by extension, the internet) about how they landed where they did and what’s coming up next.


Gab Bois, Montreal, Québec

The Cheeky Québecois Artist Making Bras Out of Tomatoes

What do you consider to be your first Instagram post as an artist? 

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J'ai fait une ptite série de textures (1/6)

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I remember being in class when this idea popped up. I started associating different materials that had the same kind of finished look, and began writing them down in my notebook. When I got home that day, I made my first series on textures and I was happily surprised by the results. I kept going after that.

What’s the story behind your favorite thing you’ve made?

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city flavor 🚗

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The one that automatically comes to mind is the ice cream cone filled with dirty snow. As a kid, dirty snow looked super appetizing to me, like cookie dough or some kind of cake icing. I always thought that if I were to eat it, it would taste delicious and sweet, it was just that no one had tried it before, so no one knew how good it was. I never confirmed that theory but that photo is an homage to my younger self’s imagination.

What’s one piece you’ve made that genuinely makes you laugh?

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when i don't shave for a week

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This one does it instantly for me because I just remember having to rub peanut butter on my underarm so he would want to stay there. Also, the fact that he’s so darn cute doesn’t hurt.

What’s your next project?

I have a few really fun commission projects on the way—I’m so happy with the people and brands I’ve been partnering up with lately. I’m also working on finishing up my first book, so you can also expect that sometime this year.

Who are a few artists/designers/creatives you think are doing cool stuff these days that not enough people know about?

Nobutaka Aozaki, Nubukho Ngaba, Hikaru Cho, Alan Belcher and Ali Cha’aban, just to name a few!

Benny Andallo, London, UK

The Self-Proclaimed “Silly Crown Designer”

What do you consider to be your first Instagram post as an artist?

Just over a year ago, I posted a photo of myself in a cream lace and tweed baker hat—it was the first post in a series of raw headshot photos of myself, family, and friends, all wearing hats I made from scrap fabrics and upcycled materials. At that time, I was freelancing as a design assistant but work was drying up, so I just made stuff I wanted to wear to stay creatively stimulated.

Before posting this pic, I didn’t have much confidence in showing my ideas—I had it in my head that I should only show glossy photos of my work. I kept getting compliments on the street whenever I would wear one of my hats and was like Fuck it, no one’s never going to see my work if I’m going to be so strict in the way I should present it. I posted it and opportunities came along.

What’s the story behind your favorite thing you’ve made?

At the end of last year, I made this custom giant cat-ear bonnet for a shoot inspired by anime Tekkonkinkreet. I wanted the hat to look like a black-and-white comic drawing, as if the character in a hat walked off the pages of a comic book. I used scrap wadding and upcycled a crappy women’s black faux-fur jacket. I used the black textured fur as piping and appliqued strips to mimic anime drawing outlines and details.

What’s one piece you’ve made that genuinely makes you laugh, or feel intensely?

I made this ridiculously giant white faux-fur ball hat for designer Leeann Huang’s Central Saint Martins MA collection. Leeann wanted to achieve the look of a headpiece that was like a giant cloud. It needed to be large but light, maintain its round shape, and be comfortable to wear. When I saw the hat in context with Leeann’s collection, I was like “Wow! That’s stupidly fab!” I had never made such a huge hat before and was scared it would deflate or just fall off, but overall it was fab and fun.

What’s your next project?

I just worked on another collaboration hat for artist/designer Ed Curtis for his new collection. It’s mega stupidly fun! I just want to get back into making new hats I’d like to wear, really.

Who are a few artists/designers/creatives you think are doing cool stuff these days that not enough people know about?

Ed Curtis, Wed Studio, Puer Deorum, Fiona O’Niell, Alfie Kungu, Leeann Huang, Alfie Shiu Kai, Roxy Lee, Reece & Dean, Emily Frances Barret, Harriet Cox, Come to My Church, Hidden Mangroves, Marshall Columbia, Strongthe, and Feben.

Martina Cox, New York, NY

The New York Artiste Who Exults in the Slowest of Slow Fashion

What do you consider to be your first Instagram post as an artist?

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Wore the right pants today

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Probably not the first image one would expect to see when my work comes to mind! It may be a very cheesy art student vibe, but this photo from my second year in art school is definitely it. I got my start as both an artist and designer in NYC at The Cooper Union. I discovered painting when I was really really confused and unsure of what to do. It’s definitely a photo that comes full circle to where I am today as I’m almost finished making a jacket out of the canvas I’m painting on here!

What’s the story behind your favorite thing you’ve made?

My all-time favorite piece is my “Garden of Earthly Delights Bosch” pants; they are what pushed me to start making clothing in a fine art institution when I entered senior year at Cooper Union. I wanted to start making clothes because I had so many ideas of dream clothing items I wished existed in the real world—and this was one of them. These are also my favorite because they are a total homage to what I like to call “painstakingly slow fashion.” I really loved the idea—and humor—of spending one month on a single pair of pants. They started out as white 100% cotton I bought on 28th Street: I measured and cut the fabric into even 9 x 7-inch squares; treated each square of fabric, chose details from the painting to handprint onto every piece, patched each piece together to create the fabric, and only THEN could I begin to make the pants themselves. They took over 70 pieces of hand-painted squares to make and I loved every single one.

What’s one piece you’ve made that genuinely makes you laugh, or feel intensely?

One of my absolute favorite, hilarious, and accidental moments I experienced with a clothing item was when I first showed my “Window to the Soul” sweater in a sculpture class critique. I was wearing it with some garter belt underwear I made, and I took off my robe to wear the outfit in the center of the room while the discussion began. I was really nervous showing my work and body in this way, and being the center of attention caused my body temperature to rise—which meant that the PVC plastic window above my left breast completely fogged up. My work in a sense naturally chose to censor me as a form of protection; something I find both funny but also an incredibly interesting and performative take on how clothes can either make a wearer empowered— or vulnerable — and how interacting with a viewer or audience can dictate that or not.

What’s your next project?

Going off of the last question, I am interested in performance and clothing. I was planning for a performance in a gallery setting pre-pandemic, but that has been on the back burner since. I am definitely feeling ready to start working on some performances remotely that I want to document and I am super excited to be planning this.

As for the clothing I have been making, I have taken a keen interest in repurposing vintage lingerie with my clingy men. I have really enjoyed toying with the materiality of vintage lingerie, specifically how in the ’50s and ’60s, the natural fibers traditionally used for loungewear/lingerie were being opted out for polyester and plastic based textiles. This idea of sleeping and being sexy “wrapped in plastic” I find really morbid but also hilarious? I think focusing on the materials that the clingy men are made out of contrast really well with these polyester based plastics in a way that really addresses their materiality.

Who are a few artists/designers/creatives you think are doing cool stuff these days that not enough people know about?

Hanan Sharifa’s work also sells at Cafe Forgot with me. Her work delves into her Moroccan heritage and utilizes fabric in really beautiful and unique ways to address identity and the body.

It was such a pleasure working with Fiona Alison Duncan (author of Exquisite Mariposa) last year for a Pillow Talk x Hard to Read events.

I made a video screened alongside other media contributions by Torey Thorton, Eckhaus Latta, Valentina Vaccarella just to name a few… Fashion Journalist Natasha Stagg was also there in person to read from her most recent book, Sleeveless. I just really love how Fiona enjoys
bringing fashion into these kinds of spaces and does so in really intelligent ways.

Last and most importantly, my friends! Childhood friend and fellow Man Repeller writer Ruby Redstone has been a huge source of inspo and a fashion confidant over the years. We became best friends in middle school through embarrassingly (but adorably) bonding over our love for strange haircuts, metallic spandex and just all things ….odd.

Also, my best friend Sinem Gökdemir is one of my favorite sources of inspo! She is my favorite person to photograph in my clothing because she has such an incredible and loving spirit that captures my clothing perfectly. I am also obsessed with her tattoos (she has a flower tattooed over her right nipple, so it was meant to be).

Nicole Mclaughlin, Brooklyn, NY

The Artist Who Takes Upcyling to the *Next Level*

What do you consider to be your first Instagram post as an artist?

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pliant impact puffer

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It would be the bubble-wrap vest. My intention remains the same. It’s about using whatever is available to create something new.

What’s the story behind your favorite thing you’ve made?

I’m always in the mindset that I could make everything better, so I don’t typically have favorites. At the moment, I like the carrot peeler, the fan bra, and the pencil sharpener sandal for their functionality.

What’s one piece you’ve made that genuinely makes you laugh?

The puns people have posted for the air freshener shorts and the egg sandals have been eggcellent.

What’s your next project?

I have my first footwear collaboration coming out with Crocs this fall and several other things I’m working on. At the moment, I’m just trying to find time to do more experiments.

Who are a few artists/designers/creatives you think are doing cool stuff these days that not enough people know about?

@gabbois (Ed note: She’s mentioned above!) @kastrokomani, and @theslowfactory.

Polina Osipova, St. Petersburg, Russia

The Pearl-Sculptor Paying Homage to Her Childhood

What do you consider to be your first Instagram post as an artist?

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💜

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Instagram was not the reason for my creativity—I have always been creative. Instagram came into being exactly at a time when I was growing up and needed a spectator. It seems that I exhibited my first work at the age of 17.

What’s the story behind your favorite thing you’ve made?

In quarantine, I was nostalgic for the time I spent in the village of my grandparents. The most magical, mystical, and favorite place was my grandfather’s garage workshop. I couldn’t get out of there. Among metal, wood, construction tools, paints, there were parts of machines and tractors…. I remembered that and got carried away by that simple magic: physical mechanisms. I started making pearl mechanisms based on a crankshaft.

What’s one piece you’ve made that genuinely makes you laugh?

The last carousel video on this link. I practically couldn’t move since the whole structure was held on my body. I didn’t think about the small distance between the pearls and accidentally started a mini fire.

What’s your next project?

I am preparing a big project about small peoples of Russia. Few people know that more than 160 nations live in Russia, with their [own] language, cuisine, culture and appearance. I want to tell the world about it.

Who are a few artists/designers/creatives you think are doing cool stuff these days that not enough people know about?

Artists I love include: Venera Kazarova, Nour Flayhan and Shalva Nikvashvili.

Luther Curtis Kidd, Temecula, CA

The LA-Based Artist Who’s Slicing and Dicing Sneakers

What do you consider to be your first Instagram post as an artist?

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TORTILLA

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My “Tortilla” shoe and custom pants. My intention was to influence the way people perceive fashion and to show my creative ability.

What’s the story behind your favorite thing you’ve made?

My favorite thing that I’ve made is my “Hate Comment” shoe. I decided to show off the hate that I get from the customs I do, but I continue to make them. [The intention was] showing others who deal with hate that it’s only words, and you have a choice of whether to be affected by them or not.

What’s one piece you’ve made that genuinely makes you laugh?

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Happy Birthday v2

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My birthday cake shoe, because it was so messy and it ended up damaging the shoe I was working on because of the flames.

What’s your next project?

Next project is unknown. I work spontaneously.

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