I have recently discovered a beautiful land, filled with hope and magic and kindness and positivity. It is called “artists on Twitter” and if you haven’t been, you must go.
At some point, I entered Design Twitter and forgot to leave. Whether I follow them or not, my Twitter feed is filled with designers debating about the best design tools, promoting their personal brand, talking UX best practices or sharing their productivity quotes and hacks.
Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate having a community of fellow designers online. It helps me feel connected and keeps me sharp. But social media and its algorithms make it too easy to get cozy in our echo chambers, and the air gets stale in there after a while.
Thankfully, I’ve found a refreshing escape in Art Twitter. Call it a “grass is greener” scenario, but Art Twitter seems like a more lighthearted and positive place. You don’t see artists arguing about “best practices” and analyzing “the industry” on Twitter. More often, at least in my experience, they’re simply sharing beautiful things – usually their work or others’ work that inspire them.
By following more artists, the quality and tone of my Twitter experience is significantly better. So if you’re looking for a little escape from Design Twitter, I recommend starting here.
The #portfolioday hashtag
Work by Kano – on Twitter @Kan0nakan0
If you have not yet discovered the #Portfolioday hashtag, go now. It’s where people, mostly artists and illustrators, share links to their portfolio once a month or so. I first browsed the hashtag for obvious reasons (I work on Semplice.com and Carbonmade.com) and found it was so filled with beautiful images and positivity, I kept coming back. I now follow several great artists I found through #Portfolioday.
Katie Rodgers is a painter who seems to see magic in everything. I love her art but also just the way she experiences the world around her. Little things – a tree through a window, a broken pastel or smudge of paint, a snail on a rock, become almost holy. Following @paperfashion on Twitter (and Instagram) shows a glimpse of life through an artist’s eyes.
Artist and researcher, Sougwen Chung, collaborates with robots on her art and it is magnificent to witness. Elements like sound, light and shadow come into play as she explores AI cognition, memory and mimicry through her artworks. Follow her explorations and you’ll feel a bit smarter.
A digital artist and character designer, Loish’s work is ethereal and distinctly feminine. Her characters, their luminous hair floating and twisting around them as if suspended in water, seem to be plucked from a story, leaving you to wonder what they're experiencing or thinking.
Lucy McRae is, in her words, a “sci-fi artist and body architect exploring the slipperiness of where science and technology meets the body.” Her work – part art, part film, part fashion design, part science – is gorgeous and unnerving and maybe even disturbing. Just the kind of stuff I love.
Victor Mosquera is a modern surrealist whose satisfyingly symmetrical, transcendental work, if studied and analyzed, could very well contain a hidden message or unravel a conspiracy. Every image transports you to the worlds he's created.
I am starting to see a theme in the artists I follow, and balance, science fiction and surrealism are part of it. Alexy Préfontaine explores these themes with 3D art. I will never tire of floating heads and orbs and supernatural scenes like these.
Préfontaine also collaborates with Victor Mosquera and Alycia Rainaud (featured here), which is always fun to see.
If you’re familiar with Semplice, you’ve probably seen Pawel Nolbert’s work before. We are huge fans of his art, and seeing the color and meticulous detail of his digital paint strokes in my feed always brightens my day.
Aaron Covrett’s work is just insane. His 3D artwork is so detailed, so realistic, it’s hard to believe it’s not a photo – even after seeing the behind-the-scenes shots he shares on his Twitter. The only word I can summon when I see a new project from Aaron is, “damn.”
What I love most about artists on Twitter: They are focused on the work. Artists seem to be on Twitter mostly to inspire and be inspired, nothing more. Scrolling through artists' tweets makes me want to create and ship my own work, which is all I could ever ask from social media. A big thank you to #portfolioday for making their work more visible and accessible.
Hi, I'm Tobias, a German designer living in New York. I'm the author of this blog, nice to meet you!