Dena Hobbs: Instagram Artist

Judy Bross Photo







This summer the artist Dena Hobbs has brought her technical prowess and Instagram adroitness—all rendered with characteristic artistic finesse—to Classic Chicago. The Bachelor of Fine Arts student at the Savannah College of Art and Design’s own professional Instagram account reflects the beauty of her art, often in blues reminiscent of those at Chartres Cathedral, as well as how this social media site can best express your passions.


Dena Hobbs.

No longer a destination for very young users—we heard in Anderson Cooper’s tribute to his late mother that Gloria Vanderbilt called him daily at age 95 to discuss what she should post on her own Instagram account—it offers abundant opportunity to tell more about ourselves.

We asked Hobbs, as Classic Chicago’s resident expert, to tell us more:

Why Instagram and what can it accomplish?

I think one first must consider how social media’s presence can accomplish so much. Yes, most stories now argue that social media is adversely effecting humanity and our ability to maintain a healthy life, however I don’t think many understand the shear power for good that we have at our fingertips. Instagram and other social media sites create waves of impressions that are so powerful in all its users.  

Yes, you can fall down the rabbit hole of mindless content that ‘rots your brain,’ but following women who are continuing a movement of body positivity and keeping others updated on political injustices makes you realize it’s worth it.

What is the best way to describe yourself and interests on this platform?

I guess the best way to describe how I use it is by curating consistent content about what I enjoy and what I love. What I mean is that it’s filtered, not just the images and how they are edited, but the actual process of choosing the images and how they should be shared. I am creating the window into my life but doing so with much consideration and decision, so as to create the image I desire. To me this is powerful. This is what an artist is skilled at doing, and Instagram gives us to the tools to all be artists.

Who do you follow on Instagram?

This question is hard for me since I actually have two Instagrams that I keep up with consistently. One is my normal page that has my life on it, the other is my artist page. The art one is kept open–meaning there is no privacy restriction for who can or cannot see it, to allow anyone to visit a 24-hour gallery of works.


Hobbs’s professional account.


And her personal page.

On each one of these accounts I follow different pages. On the art one, I solely follow other artists and brands that continually spark creativity in others. My other page is mainly for friends, though I have started to follow people who are influencers, and they are the human form of art. It’s not physical art pieces they are producing, but rather their entire feeds, each photograph, and self-branding that allows them to be an artist in their own right.

Tell us a little about these influencers who are able to convince their many followers to buy the products they use.

It’s free advertising. It’s open 24 hours a day and allows arguably more impressions on users than a bus stop ad ever could. I think it’s growing because we as users are growing and becoming more confortable with living in a tech driven world.

What are some tips you have for growing our own sphere of influence on Instagram?

There’s a lot to consider. The way your feed looks as a whole compared to each individual post is a big one—you must consider both the macro and micro look of your page. There are also apparently better times to post, so as to reach more impressions. There is probably a WikiHow page as to how to achieve more followers and how to be successful at Instagram—I just haven’t investigated.


An array of posts from her professional Instagram account.

Is there is a particular type of person who will do well on Instagram, such as a very visual person?

Facebook and Twitter create more verbal content as well as Twitter, while Instagram is more visually based. Therefore, it makes sense that the successful Instagram users are those who understand the aesthetics.

Why do you think that it has become the most popular form of social media?

It has become the most popular form of social media for specific ages. Instagram is the most popular for users under the age of 30. I think this makes complete sense since we are the ones who grew up to look at images before captions, rather than vice versa. This platform reflects how we prefer to consume content.

Are there other forms of social media that one should consider—new sites or apps?

There’s a ton more—apps are consistently changing with the times. Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube, Twitter, VSCO, Snapchat, and so many more are constantly being used. I think this is too preferential—no one platform is better than another. It’s just what interest you and speaks to you as an individual. Regardless of the platform, they simply allow us to curate how others view us as individuals.