Traci l turner, art, traci turner, artist, fauvism, pop art, instalove

What if there were real world Instagram icons for our love lives?

My eyes must have been too honest, for you were overwhelmed.
If I screenshot you my heart would you then receive the message?
Tag me in a picture so I know it’s real…

Recently I started a mini-series called InstaLove that will make its debut at my next solo show this coming June. As a way to speak on some of the impersonal aspects I’ve noticed in the current dating landscape, I decided to paint Instagram icon parodies that could possibly represent aspects of our love lives. Of course, some of my own personal feelings or experience is sprinkled in.

It seems that in the dating realm, so much of our personal interactions happen in the form of online communication. It can be a dangerous thing in that we can read nothing into it, or we completely over-analyze and personalize it. However, whether we’d like to admit it or not, a lot of us have become quite satisfied with this sort of distant connectivity in our social lives. We’re comfortable using apps, memes, emojis and reposts to express ourselves or connect with others. Oftentimes it’s not even useful or entertaining information, only filler. We’re also in a time where it’s common that serious conversations, which should probably happen in-person or at least in a phone call, get addressed in texting exchanges. Getting someone’s attention or showing interest can now be measured with a “like” tally or a view counter, and even that can make some people squirm. Because it MEANS something. When we’re presented with actual face-to-face, voice-to-voice interactions offline, sometimes things get tricky. Can you believe that even a casual coffee date can now bring an unreasonable wave of anxiety? When the barrier of a screen and keypad has been stripped, that leaves one wide open to be in the moment, to make mistakes, to actually feel. PASS. No wonder “ghosting” is as common as it is now. And we’ve all been there in some form.

I started thinking about how one could convey an honest feeling or message as instantly as we can convey empty ones, in regards to love/romance. Would it make the message more palatable, and would we respond to it? Using the Instagram “Like” icon as the backdrop, as well as a little bit of humor, I try to turn this pared down form of communication on its head by inviting the viewer to go a bit deeper. That perhaps even this bite-sized image that’s essentially a shallow gesture in its original form (let’s be real), could inspire reactions beyond validation and jealousy. What you see above is about half of this mini-series, the official roll-out is to come in a couple of months.

Would love to know your thoughts in the comments.