Stay-at-home mom Ali Jardine has amassed a huge following on Instagram, 511,000 followers, by consistently creating surreal photos on her iPhone. Originally a painter, Jardine found her true calling as an artist when she started playing with Instagram and all the other photo apps on her mobile device. Many of her pieces are a family affair, the beautiful silhouettes you’ll often find in her photos are of her daughter or son, Pippin and Gabe. We caught up with Jardine to ask her some questions like what opportunities Instagram has brought her and what specific apps she uses to bring her photos to life.
Are all of your photos on Instagram created using only an iPhone? Can you tell us which apps you use?
Almost all of my photos are shot with an iPhone (I started with a 3G and now am using a 6) and every image is edited entirely on an iPhone. Juxtaposer, Tiny Planets, VSCO, Image Blender, Pro HDR, and Mextures are all favorite apps that I couldn’t live without.
How did your life change after you got on Instagram?
Before Instagram, I was a painter, bookmaker, and crafter. My family and I lived in the Santa Cruz mountains of California, about an hour from where my kids attended school. At the time, I spent many hours waiting in my car for Gabe and Pippin to get out of school or music or gymnastics lessons. I joined Instagram a month after it was released in 2010. At first it was a fun way to communicate with my sister, something to keep me busy while waiting for my kids, and a fun way to be creative and share work with a growing audience.
There was no way of knowing at the time the opportunities Instagram would bring. It has given me an amazing platform to show my work, and has ushered in opportunities to work with brands like Travel + Leisure, National Geographic, Samsung, and HP. Because of these jobs I have had many wonderful experiences such as going to New York to do a campaign for Dos Equis where I met The Most Interesting Man in the World, and to Bermuda with Travel + Leisure and the Bermuda Tourism Board to explore an amazing new place.
What I love most about my experience with Instagram, however, is that it hasn’t really changed my life in the most important and real sense. I am still a stay-at-home mom who is always taking kids somewhere and waiting on them and still get to do what I love most, which is to be around for my family.
Where do you get your inspiration to make such surreal works?
Inspiration for my work comes from everyday life; music, books, things i see and hear. Taking long walks, especially in a remote location without lots of people around seems to work well, but really I’m just a perpetual daydreamer and am always thinking about my next image no matter where I am or what I’m doing. Art has always been a part of my life, creating is what my brain does. Just don’t ask me to remember what happened yesterday or to do a math problem.
Finally, what do you hope others get out of your works?
When you look at my work I hope that you are taken out of reality for a second to a place of magic and freedom where you feel hope and joy. That’s what I’m always going for.