For many artists, the digital sphere has been a necessary tool in reaching larger audiences and sidestepping any possible gatekeeping from institutions. Instagram, with its emphasis on all things visual, has been particularly helpful.
Since the 2018 roll-out of a feature that allows users to share other peoples’ posts in their Instagram stories, profiles on the social media platform have become reminiscent of the blogs on LiveJournal or Tumblr, with personal posts placed between music suggestions and images meant to boost an imagined aesthetic. Queued after videos from, say, a hike or a meal, you may catch the work of an unknown artist your old friend or little cousin admires — and find that, after visiting the artist’s profile, you admire them, too.
ALL ARTS has always been a platform meant to bolster the work of artists through a supportive community that transcends genre, and the ALL ARTS Instagram is no different. Every week, we feature posts from creators in the digital space on our Instagram stories. And now, with the aim to foster our arts community, we’re talking with a new artist every week in our new series: Artists of Instagram.
For our first pick, meet contemporary artist Max Goshko-Dankov (@MGDankov)! The 38-year-old, based in Moscow, has been creating artworks since his childhood in Smolensk, Russia, where he attended a local art school. But he says he really started to place his energy in cultivating an art career in 2015. His coloring book “Dream Cities” (2016) became a best-seller in his home country, and he’s since traveled the world, filling huge walls with abstract drawings, which he invites the public to color in with him.
We asked Goshko-Dankov about his pieces, his inspirations and what art means to him.
How would you describe the type of art that you create?
Free art with no category, but with a mission of self-exploration.
What does art mean to you? How does it fit in your story?
My art is always about positive vibes. I try to surround people with good energy, as we are always suffering too much. My motto is COLOR.ID — self-identification through colors — and my mission is to involve people and let them discover their inner creativity. That’s why I started to create huge colorings on the street and … invited people to color in with me.
How has social media and the digital sphere helped you with your art career?
I get invitations to participate in different art projects. Usually, they come through social media, as [that’s where] people see what I’m doing. Nowadays, digital is key … to reach people and to involve them in art.
How has the current global climate (and isolation) affected your art?
To be isolated for me, being an artist, is not a problem, as usually I need time to create. But I can imagine that for many it’s a big problem to spend time in a box. Knowing this, I create colorings on a daily basis, and I upload them for free to involve people … and [help them] to spend this free time with pleasure. I hope some of them will find themselves into the arts after!
How do you find inspiration?
It comes by chance; no plan, no prediction! Now, people can inspire me a lot [by] being open-minded and helpful.
What other artists inspire you?
[Hieronymus] Bosch, [Pieter] Bruegel and sons, [Pablo] Picasso, [Kazimir] Malevitch, [and Jean-Michel] Basquiat.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Yes! Be positive and happy!
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Top Image: Artist Max Goshkov-Dankov stands in front of a wall of his abstract drawings. Photo courtesy Max Goshko-Dankov.