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The Instagram Art Movement – Q&A with Leading iPhone Artist Kevin Carson

There’s a brand new art movement that you may not even be aware of. It grew up out of the Instagram craze and has many followers but few people who are able to create truly artistic images in this little-known medium. One of the leading lights of Instagram artworld is Kevin Carson, a designer from Covina, California who has created a brilliant portfolio of mini photo masterpieces that use light, color, and a toolbox of complex exposure effects to create sublime artworks.

Kevin has created a tiny “retro cool” iPhone world that is inhabited by strange humanoid creatures and electrical landscapes. I talked to him about his work and how he creates these stunning digital art pieces:

Tell us a little bit about yourself – who you are and what you do?

I guess you can say that I’m a bit of an artist cliché; a struggling artist and designer if you will. I’ve been designing for a little over 9 years now but haven’t found that perfect design gig (if there even is one?)

How would you define Instagram or iPhone art?

I believe Instagram and iPhone design to be a genius medium! Relative to my previous statement, it allows me to be truly creative. Unlike my real design job, I am able to be expressive without limits.

Do you feel limited on such a small digital canvas?

Not at all! In fact, I find it to be a part of the challenge. Remember seeing the tiny works of art painted on a pinhead? Its kind of like that. To be able to create a tiny piece of artwork on such a small canvas can be really powerful.

I heard that there are a few downloadable apps that artists, such as yourself, use to create these art pieces. Could you let our readers in on some of the apps you use to create your awesome iPhone art?

Absolutely. In no particular order: WowFX, SpaceEffects, Instaeffects, GalaxyFX, Mirrored, LensLight, TapFX, iColorama S, BrushFX, Flowpaper, PS Express, Diptic, pxl, Blender, Phonto, ColorMania, Decim8, iDesign, and Artform.

However, don’t be fooled by the tools available. Anyone can easily throw and lay on a bunch of layered effects. Its being able to use them effectively and executing an artpiece even the creators of these apps couldn’t dream of. For real!

What do you use for your source material? Do you use your own photos?

My ONLY source of material are my own photos taken everyday. That’s kind of the point to use simple, mundane shots taken here, taken there, and transform them into something else – something that evokes feeling and emotion. To me, that’s the whole point of art, whether you’re making it on an iPhone or your creating it on a 30 ft canvas!

I notice you are also an accomplished Photoshop designer – how do the two design mediums compare?

At first glance, it may seem comparable, but honestly, they don’t compare at all. Designing on desktop computers can be challenging at times, but designing on a little iPhone is the absolute of the word “challenge”. One of the greatest things about designing on an iPhone, I can do it ANYWHERE! (even in the bathroom!)

At NextDayFlyers, we are font obsessive’s. I love your font choices. Can you give us your top 5 fonts that you use on your iPhone artwork?

1) Bananabrick (

2) Clubland (

3) Codystar (

4)Nemoymedium (

5) AvenirNext-UltraLight -my all-time #1 favorite (

Apart from small prints like business cards, is there any other print application for these small artwork files or is it limited to the net?

Funny you should say that, but I’ve put my own iPhone work on business cards and I’ve known other Instagram artists who’ve created digital canvasses. A 16″x 20″ canvas print would work great as a print and I plan to use NextDayFlyers to create my own gallery prints.

See more of Kevins work at

Thank you to Kevin for sharing his work with us. We are so impressed with his iPhone art. We wish him luck in all his design ventures and can’t wait to see his next photo art pieces.

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