How to Become an Instapoet: Part I

We’ve all seen people get rich famous after going viral on social media: Justin Bieber, Rebecca Black, PewDiePie, Tila Tequila, Psy, THE KARDASHIANS, the list goes on. All these celebrities got famous for doing something stupid. But you’re different. You can do better. Instapoetry is a relatively new trend so you’ve still got time to jump on that bandwagon and claim that you did it before it was cool. Here are [numer] easy steps to make bank!

Step 1: Go Viral

Sounds more difficult than it is. First of all, do you have an Instagram account? Good. Now think of something taboo. What is the one thing your mom would never allow you to make jokes about around the house? Got it? Good. Now think of a cool and q u i r k y way to capture it. You can use your phone crema but don’t be too cheap – if you need to invest in props, do it! You’re about to become a millionaire, I think you can afford to buy some fake blood or vomit or whatever… Once you have your picture, post it to your Instagram account but don’t make the caption too long. Make it look mysterious. It should look something like this:

Step 2: Wait for Conflict

If you’ve completed Step 1 successfully, your post should get deleted pretty quickly. When it does, complain. A LOT. Make a huge deal about it. This trauma is what your future poems will be based on, you’re never moving on. Make a few long posts about how unfair Instagram Community Guidelines are until you gain enough recognition from your followers. When you do, Instagram will probably apologize and repost your original taboo post. Great job!

How to Become an Instapoet: Part I

How to Become an Instapoet: Part II

Step 3: Create Content

Now it’s time to get really creative(kinda). What you’re gonna do is have a conversation with someone about the trauma that social media has caused you. Nice deep talk about how unfair what happened to you was. Feel better? I’m sure you do, after all, it was only a college assignment and you’ve already passed that class so you’re okay. Now, get a pen and paper and write down whatever lines you can remember from the conversation. Make them depressing, people love that. Then, pick a trendy font (I recommend Helvetica, Arial, or Futura) and type out those lines on a plain background. Make sure all of your text is lowercase, that’s how the cool kids are doing it these days. If the finished product looks too plain to you, add an illustration in the opposite corner. You don’t have to be good, just claim it as part of your “aesthetic”.

How to Become an Instapoet: Part II

How to Become an Instapoet: Part III

Step 4: Branding

Now that you’ve established yourself as a victim AND a poet, it’s time to widen your audience and make some money off of these fools. Your Instagram profile definitely needs some spice if you’re reading this lame blog. You need to pick a colour scheme and base all of your future posts off of it, it’ll look nicer this way. Hire a photographer, makeup artist, stylist, whatever you need to stock up on amazing photos of yourself while you still look young(er than what you’ll look like in a few years. It’s all downhill from here looks-wise). Follow your preferred colour scheme when editing the photos. Make sure you post a picture of yourself after each poem so that people know how pretty you are. Now you can stay young and beautiful forever.

Step 5: Get Filthy Rich and Famous

If you’ve done all the previous steps successfully, you should have about 1 million followers within a year. Now you can collect all the poems you’ve posted, put them all together in a book, and publish it. Congratulations! You are now very popular and rich.

P.S. This post is a joke.

P.P.S. If you do get rich following my advice, I’d like 49% of your earnings. Thanks.


How to Become an Instapoet: Part III

2000-Present: Noma Bar

Noma Bar (born in 1973) is an Israel-born graphic designer, illustrator and artist. His work has appeared in many media publications including: Time Out London, BBC, Random House, The Observer, The Economist and Wallpaper*. Bar has illustrated over one hundred magazine covers, published over 550 illustrations and released three books of his work: Guess Who – The Many Faces of Noma Bar in 2008, Negative Space in 2009 and Bittersweet 2017, a 680 page 5 volume monograph produced in a Limited Edition of 1000 published by Thames & Hudson.

Noma Bar at his studio

Noma Bar is a highly prolific artist whose graphic works are celebrated for their impact and simplicity. Each of his ideas are first drawn in a sketchbook and then transferred to the screen where he works on them digitally to come up with the final conceptualised solution.

Gun Crime

 The dual strategies of his practice are efficiency and humour, and these come from a deep understanding of how the brain percieves and understands imagery.

If Turkey Explodes

With a limited pallet he subtlety and precisely manipulates shape and form where familiar symbols and pictograms evolve to form new meaning. Negative and positive spaces tessellate creating several images in one, and sometimes a few moments are needed to see the embedded, often poignant, message.

Fashion Loves Art
Mad Men

I enjoy Noma Bar’s work because unlike a lot of other illustrators, his works makes the viewer think. And when you realize what a piece is really about, it gives you a kind of satisfaction – as if you’ve just solved a rebus. His work is also very appealing visually because of clean shapes and limited colours.

Bad Hangover


2000-Present: Noma Bar

1990-2000 New Forms: Chris Ware

Franklin Christenson “Chris” Ware is an American cartoonist known for his Acme Novelty Library series and the graphic novels Jimmy Corrigan, the Smartest Kid on Earth and Building Stories. His works explore themes of social isolation, emotional torment and depression. He tends to use a vivid color palette and realistic, meticulous detail.

Chris Ware

Chris Ware was born in Omaha, Nebraska in 1967. Known for his New Yorkermagazine covers, he’s hailed as a master of the comic art form. Ware’s complex graphic novels tell stories about people in suburban Midwestern neighborhoods, poignantly reflecting on the role memory plays in constructing identity.

One of Chris Ware’s New Yorker magazine covers

Although his precise, geometrical layouts may appear to some to be computer-generated, Ware works almost exclusively with manual drawing tools such as paper and ink, rulers and T-squares. He does, however, sometimes use photocopies and transparencies, and he employs a computer to color his strips.

Illustration from “Building Stories”

The organizing principle of “Building Stories” is architecture, and — even more than he usually does — Ware renders places and events alike as architectural diagrams. He’s certain of every detail of these rooms, and tends to splay their furnishings out diagonally to show how they fit together.

from “Building Stories”

Ware’s daughter Clara was born in 2005. “It changed my life,” he says. “It gave my life a middle point that it hadn’t had before. Now everything is either before her or after her.”

Chip Kidd saw the difference. “I think the major thing that has changed him—and this is a large part of what ‘Building Stories’ is about—is having a child. From what I’ve seen, it really seemed to ground him. He’s a great dad, and a work-at-home dad, and I think it really did help him get a better view of the world, and of life. There’s just a lot less of the despair.”

Chris Ware and his daughter Clara riding a tandem bicycle through their neighborhood in Oak Park, Illinois 2015


1990-2000 New Forms: Chris Ware

1980-1990 New Voices: Vivienne Flesher

Vivienne Flesher creates a brilliant array of multi-textural illustrations and artwork, fusing a classic approach to technique and materials with a smart, modern visual sensibility. She is a frequent contributor to magazines and newspapers, especially The New York Times, and has illustrated an extraordinary series of book covers, many of them featuring powerful and graceful portraits. Flesher works is a wide variety of styles, using charcoal, inks, paint, and collage. In addition to her elegant illustration work, Flesher has created an eye-popping collection of psychedelic personal art that is astonishing in its layered graphics sophistication.


“I’d always appreciated the psychedelic-inspired photos Richard Avedon took of the Beatles, and they became the inspiration for some work I did combining my photography and the computer. I sent samples to three art directors I thought might use them, but only one responded: Kelly Doe of The New York Times. She was working on a personal project—a show mounted by the Japanese government. Kelly has often given me the chance to do experimental projects. She can see where I might take something even though I have little in my portfolio to prove it.”

Japan!The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts

Vivienne does not believe in “staying current”. In on of her interviews she said that trying to stay current seems futile, like having plastic surgery to stay young—it never looks natural. We can’t help but be products of our time. 

New YearN Y Times

She uses a lot of vibrant colours in her work which is what attracts me the most. Although the works might seem like ordinary psychedelic posters, to me, they look way more clean and organized than the ones from the 60s. It might be because Flesher has access to current technology, but it also takes good sense of space and tension to create beautiful pieces like these.

Gallery Exhibit Stir Gallery, Shanghai. China
Japan! The Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts


1980-1990 New Voices: Vivienne Flesher

Supergraphics: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

Barbara Stauffacher Solomon is best known for her interior Supergraphics of the 1960s Sea Ranch and her 1991 Ribbon of Light installation at the Embarcadero Promenade in San Francisco, her iconic style of mixing Swiss Modernism and West Coast Pop, pioneered the look of the California Cool – an important moment in graphic design history.

Sea Ranch, 1966

At first, she was hired only to create the Sea Ranch’s logo and brochure. In fact, as she reveals in the interview, the now-iconic supergraphics were one of the last elements she designed for the development. The architects had gone way over budget designing the Sea Ranch’s swim and tennis club and they needed a cost-effective signage system. Enter Solomon’s bold, Helvetica-heavy solution, achieved in just a handful of days with just a few coats of paint. The project was later published in Life magazine and gained its popularity.

Sea Ranch, 1966

A joint effort by Barbara Solomon, Vito Acconci, and Stanley Saitowitz, the Promenade Ribbon a 2.5-mile long linear sculpture that wraps along the Embarcadero sidewalk, was completed in 1996.

Punctuated by lighted glass blocks set in paving, it once provided gentle illumination for nighttime passersby. Today, twenty years later, it lights up no more.

A few factors contributed to the darkening. Sea level rise and king tides have resulted in water corroding of Ribbon’s power source. And the fiber optic lights, beautiful when they worked, suffered from water damage caused by the porous nature of concrete.


Supergraphics: Barbara Stauffacher Solomon

1970-1980 Social Awakenings: George Hardie

George Hardie (born 1944) is an English graphic designer, illustrator and educator, best known for his work producing cover art for the albums of rock musicians and bands with the British art design group Hipgnosis.

George Hardie, self portrait, 1973

Hardie was trained at St Martin’s and the Royal College of Art and worked as a designer/illustrator for more than 40 years, making illustrations for clients around the world. He was the cover artist behind Led Zeppelin’s debut album Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon.

Wish You Were Here, 1975

Over the years Hipgnosis produced artwork for some of the most influential bands of the era including Led ZeppelinGenesis, and Black Sabbath, but it was the bold graphic design for The Dark Side of the Moon which thrust the studio’s work into the public eye when it hit record stores in March 1973.

In the process of creating the album cover, the breakthrough moment was provided by Storm Thorgerson(member of Hipgnosis) who remembered an illustration from a photography book showing the process of light refraction through a glass prism; “An inspirational image in itself” as Hardie recalls. The concept seemed particularly fitting for Pink Floyd who were famous for their use of light shows.

The Dark Side of The Moon, 1973

He also created ‘Day’ and ‘night’ sticker inserts for Pink Floyd’s 1973 album Dark Side of the Moon, combining Hardie’s typography with a reworking of the album’s prism / pyramid theme.

Overall, I love George Hardie’s style because of how different he is from most artists of his time. His colour schemes and use of lines are very appealing to me.


1970-1980 Social Awakenings: George Hardie

1960-1970 Departures and Rumblings: Victor Moscoso

Victor Moscoso is a classically trained artist who applied an academic perspective to the psychedelic era. He studied at Yale with Joseph Albers whose theories on the use of color were a major influence in Moscoso’s later work.

Victor Moscoso, 2006

Most of his works have very vibrant colours and almost illegible “psychedelic” type. He seems to have thought of type as a design element, not just a way of communicating words.

Young Bloods, The Youngbloods, The Other Half, Mad River, 1967
The Cloud, 1967

The vibrant colours and symmetrical lines create a pattern which creates an optical illusion of depth and movement. “The Miller Blues Band” is one of my personal favourites because of how well Moscoso managed to interpret the type and the figure into one beautiful piece.

The Miller Blues Band, 1967

Another thing that I love about his style is the way he uses photography in his works. Given Moscoso’s artistic sophistication, it is not surprising that he was the first of the rock poster artists to use photographic collage.

Matrix/ San Francisco , 1967
Big Brother and the Holding Company, 1967


1960-1970 Departures and Rumblings: Victor Moscoso

1950-1960 Postwar Prosperities: Coby Whitmore

Maxwell Coburn Whitmore, better known as Coby Whitmore, was an American illustrator known for his Saturday Evening Post covers, and commercial artist whose work included advertisements for Gallo Wine and other national brands. He additionally became known as a race-car designer.

Coby Whitmore

Born in Dayton, Ohio, he studied at the Dayton Art Institute and honed his skills as an apprentice to illustrator Haddon Sundblom in Chicago before joining the Charles E. Cooper Studio in New York. Soon after, a steady stream of assignments for Ladies’ Home JournalMcCall’sRedbookCosmopolitan, and other women’s magazines brought him public acclaim.

Whitmore illustration for the March 28, 1953, issue of The Saturday Evening Post

Sophisticated, with imaginative compositions, brilliant use of color, superb draftsmanship, and good taste, his pictures represented the “Good Life” in the post-war U.S. They are nearly all most notable for their glamorous women–the ideal of American youth, sophistication and beauty. 

The ladies are feisty, independent, know their own minds…the product of the new found weath and leisure of America in the 1950s and 60s.


1950-1960 Postwar Prosperities: Coby Whitmore