It’s common knowledge that I love a good wall. When I say ‘a good wall’, I mean a wall decorated with a mural/street art painted by a talented artist. (If you share this love, come say hi to me on Instagram btw.) Last month I shared a snap of an amazing mural by Hixxy alongside my frustrations on crediting (or lack of) Artists and it started a bit of a conversation…
🌿The shade of it all… 🌿 If we all post photos of that amazing sunshine we had, do you think it will force the weather to cheer up again? Just look at those shadows! 😅☀✨Loving this amazing mural by @hixxy, but not loving that people keep posting it without crediting the artist… 🙈📸✏ It’s such a small & easy thing to do, but for the artist it means so so much & could help get them their next job 🎨🎉🤞🏼I know that sometimes it’s effort to find out who the work belongs to but we have the internet at our fingertips! So spread the love if you can… ooh think of the karma points too 🙊💃🏻❤ P.S. Every time someone posts my wall & tags me in it I am SO happy, so thank you for that feeling 🌈😘
Tagging an artist; such a simple thing to do, but so many fail to do it. Most people just don’t think about it and some don’t know where to start, and some just don’t care – according to my Instagram stories polls anyway.
As a creative I want to champion and spread the love for Street Artists, Mural painters and Designers where I can. The internet is making this a very hard task – every day thousands of photos are being used without permission, with the ‘excuse’ that once you put something on the internet you don’t own it anymore. Which is complete rubbish of course, but Pinterest and Instagram are sadly continuing this behaviour with no consequences.
It really frustrates me when people stand in front of a cool wall mural and then tag all of the brands they’re wearing etc, but not the artist. Most of the time, the image is MADE because of the art but people don’t see it important enough to credit – how is this a thing? If you don’t see the wall mural as a key part of your image, then why not just stand with a plain brick wall? And if it’s a key part of your image, the artist that spent 10 hours creating it surely deserves a small thank you by acknowledging their talent and tagging them, no?
I think a big problem is societies general attitude towards the value of creativity. Art is free for people to enjoy, but Art isn’t free to make. Behind every mural there’s a creative that has to eat and sleep somewhere – maybe they have a full time job and art is their side hustle, or maybe they’re working 3 jobs just to cover their rent and a couple of spray cans.
Imagine Shoreditch or Camden without any of its street art – nobody would want to hang out there and the businesses would fail. Creativity breeds culture, community and curiosity, and humans love all three, but we need to support artists to keep the art coming!
And it’s not just Sally down the road thats been using art without credit. Cases of stolen art have been in the headlines a lot this year – high street retailers Zara and H&M have both been under fire for copying indie artist’s work without apology. Most recently I stumbled across this post on the London Calling Blog calling out the uncredited use of Street Art in the Boohoo Man x Dele campaign. It honestly breaks my heart. So I wanted to do my bit and get people thinking about it…
How to credit creatives on Instagram
Pretty easy & obvious but it works! If you don’t know whose work it is, literally just ask in your caption, something like: ‘Loving this amazing mural but would love to know who created it… help a gal out?’. Not only is it the respectful thing to do, but also encourages engagement and everyone loves a mystery to be solved.
Look for the tag
Usually artists will sign their work with their tag, you’ve just gotta look for it! Try the bottom left or right of the mural and if you spot it, snap it. Even if it doesn’t give you a clue about the artist’s name and just looks like a scribble, take a photo because you can drop it into google image search and fingers crossed it will pull up some similar photos linked to information.
Check out Ella popping our names onto our co-working space mural (wanna see behind the scenes of it? Check out my blog post & video)…
Check the location
Chances are that you won’t be the only person to have posted it on Instagram so check the location for other posts & hopefully the artist! This is also a great way to find accounts to follow because if you’re posting similar things, you’ve got similar taste!
Follow people in the know
If you want to make it really easy for yourself then follow a few accounts that are usually in the know when it comes to recognising artists and stay up to date with new pieces appearing. A few of my go-to Instagram accounts include: @streetartnews @ldn_calling_blog @globalstreetart and @streetartatlas
I also wanted to highlight some of my favourite artists whose amazing work I often see on Instagram, sadly without credit (but I usually comment to let people know! hehe):
Tag, you’re it!
Ok so now you know how to find artists, let’s talk tagging etiquette. Personally I like to be mentioned in the caption AND tagged in the image. There’s a couple of reasons for this;
1. Some people don’t know that tags exist if you tap on images.
2. Some people don’t read captions so they won’t see the artist credit.
3. If I’m tagged in the image it shows up in my tagged images on my profile, which I love. It’s a great way to keep track of all my wall appreciation, and also gives a little something back to those who support me.
I really appreciate it when people love my wall and want to tag me to show their appreciation – it’s one big appreciation party! It puts a giant smile on my face and makes me remember that the 10 hours I spent painting were totally worth it.
10 points to Gryffindor
If someone you follow posts an image of an artist’s work that you recognise without tagging them, then do the decent thing and let them know! Not only will the artist be grateful, but hopefully the Instagrammer will be too. Sometimes I feel a bit rude commenting as it can come across as passive aggressive depending how well you know the person, but honestly I just want to spread the love so try to keep it light – I would usually comment along the lines of: ‘Love this piece by @Fandangoekid!’ or ‘I spy a @MoragMyerscough piece – one of my faves’. I see it a bit like litter picking – if we all picked up one piece of litter every time we saw some, think about how much nicer the world would be!
Give credit where credit’s due, whether that be the location, photographer, stylist, footwear brand or chocolate bar. Share the love! Just think of it this way: tagging an artist on your image could lead to a cool opportunity, a viral post or their next paid job – that’s good karma for everyone!
Hope that’s given you plenty of food for thought! I chose to focus on Instagram for this one, but remember that this really applies for any social platform, website, blog or magazine (online and print). Would love to hear your opinions and experiences with crediting, both from an artist and art lover perspective!