Artist Dina Brodsky discovered her passion for painting when she was 18 years old. She has since spent years building her artistic practice and, more recently, she’s built a tremendous following on Instagram. As an expert in social media, Brodsky has built her platform to promote her stunning oil on copper miniature landscapes and beautiful sketches drawn from everyday life.
Brodsky's beautiful miniature oil paintings take an estimated 80 hours to complete. Utilizing social media has given her more time to create, and her recent works are stunning. Dina's work builds on her multiple artistic interests. Her 2016 series, The Secret Life of Trees, explored themes of growth and nature, as sketched with a ballpoint pen during her pregnancy. Her oil miniatures are often equally meditative. Her series Cycling Guide to Lilliput was inspired by the landscapes and memories of a long-distance cycling trip.
Particularly moving is Brodsky's One More Shelter series. While her miniature natural landscapes are often idyllic, One More Shelter is an urban contemplation by a New Yorker. Brodsky writes, “What I am interested in is the quotidian—the buildings, people and memories that can fall through the cracks without a conscious awareness of their existence.” In the miniature works of the series, the artist explores lives left behind. Emptiness, loss, and fragility are addressed. She explains,”I want to tell their stories, creating in miniature a narrative of the places they left to search for their city dreams, and of the price they paid, of the loneliness and alienation that can frequently be experienced in the multi-varied, glittering kaleidoscope of life that New York consists of.”
Her posts visually invite the viewer into the creation of her romantic landscapes, but learning the algorithms of Instagram has helped her reach new audiences. “Instagram has completely changed my career,” Brodsky explains. As primarily a miniaturist, she found that her work was often difficult to display in galleries due to its very small size. While searching for a way to support herself artistically and create an audience for her work, Brodsky eventually turned her attention to Instagram. Her following grew as she learned more about how to optimize the platform. She now has over 423,000 followers. Brodsky also runs the social media of other artistic pages and galleries, bringing her expertise to new spaces.
According to Brodsky, Instagram is ideal for artists. It can be updated every day and posts can be shared quickly with new audiences. Curators and galleries expect artists to have an Instagram presence, and commissions can even come through exposure on social media. Brodsky teaches how to maximize these opportunities by sharing her knowledge of how the platform's algorithm, hashtags, and other features can work for artists. For artists hoping to build their own creative brand and get their artwork in front of new eyes, Brodsky is offering classes entitled Insights for Artists to help creatives master social media. She offers pre-recorded courses at several price points depending on the package. There is also a free mini webinar on becoming a hashtag expert.
My Modern Met recently had the chance to speak with the artist and learn more about her artistic practice, social media classes, and her own use of such platforms. (To register for Dina Brodsky's classes, check out all the offerings on her site Insights for Artists.)
As someone who runs many influential artistic Instagrams, why do you think that mastering social media is an important skill for artists and galleries?
I believe that Instagram has been the most powerful business tool that has ever been given to artists—it gives them the ability to take control of every part of their art career, to display their work, form relationships with collectors, and do their own marketing and branding. It serves as a combination of their artist website, their mailing list, and their business card that they can exchange with a fellow artist, or give a gallery director or art writer without being intrusive.
(continued) For galleries, Instagram has become an essential platform for adapting to a rapidly changing art world. Especially after last year, when everything shut down due to the pandemic, Instagram became the virtual “space” in which to display and sell art. For gallerists, Instagram is important because the entire art world—artists, collectors, and art critics—is using it to display or discover art. Galleries who have found a way to use it efficiently are finding ways to thrive in a market where others are struggling.
Your Insights for Artists course has run live several times. How do you adapt your content to stay on top of the changing algorithms and updates on Instagram?
The Instagram algorithm does change, but not very quickly—it’s basically an artificial intelligence (AI) that is constantly evolving, and “teaching” itself to recognize good content. I adapt to the changes by closely observing the accounts I run (both my own, and those of the galleries and institutions I work for), and monitoring what works, and what doesn’t, and how that changes over time. I think of it almost like a conversation with the Instagram AI. There are things that were important several years ago that are less important now that the algorithm has shifted, which make it necessary to adapt the presentation of the art. I’ve been teaching this class for two years, and a lot of the information has stayed the same, but some has changed and evolved. As the Instagram algorithm changes, or new features appear, I add new sections to the class.
For your own artistic practice, how has social media impacted the way you create art?
Honestly, social media hasn’t impacted the way that I make art (I was painting tiny, compulsive paintings before social media existed), but understanding how to present the art I make in the context of the Instagram algorithm has completely transformed the business side of art for me. It has made it possible for me to support myself as an artist financially, in a way that was completely impossible before social media gave me the tools to take control of my own career. The biggest impact social media has made on my life, is that it has given me the opportunity to make more art. I can now make a living painting, whereas before I was juggling several freelance jobs, and trying to squeeze in painting wherever I could.
I think of Instagram, when used successfully, as a virtual studio assistant, that helps me take care of the financial part of my life, and leaves me with more time to spend in the studio.