Interview with an Instagram Artist.
Interview with Octavius “Doc” Coleman
by Kelvin Wong
[The interview takes place in the artist’s studio room. In front of the artist is his computer and several of his current art projects]
-Alright so who are you and what do you do?
[00:03] Doc: I’m Doc, I’m with Amzco1987. I’m a mixed media artist/street artist
-When did you start making art?
[00:15] Doc: Since middle school… since I can remember.
-How as Instagram helped you in your business?
[00:23] Doc: It helps me get my art out there, link me with a lot of people, gave me a lot of exposure, and I got a lot of followers from it, so now a lot of people can see my stuff.
-Are you more of a pencil guy or a stylus guy?
[00:38] Doc: Pencil
[00:40] Doc: Because I like that natural feel
-What inspires you?
[00:45] Doc: Probably like pop culture and 90’s pop culture, sneakers, music, TV, film, pretty much anything.
-How has your practice changed over time?
[01:04] Doc: I’ve gone more digital so I’m doing a lot more digital art and a lot more stuff on my computer, as opposed to just drawing, like mixed media and like doing logos and stuff like that.
-How much time do you spend in front of the screen, like the computer and your phone?
[01:21] Doc: All day, pretty much all day. Especially if I’m working on something.
-What hashtags do you use in relations to your work?
[01:31] Doc: I use Art, InstaArtist, ArtOfTheDay, IllustrationOfTheDay, all types of hashtags. It just depends on what I’m posting at the time, I just like search for hashtags related to it.
-What was your initial thoughts on Instagram?
[01:50] Doc: Its cool, cuz I rather post pictures of my artwork than like tweet stuff or like talk to people on Facebook. Its probably one of the only social medias that I use.
-What opportunities has Instagram presented to you?
[02:06] Doc: I’ve gotten businesses through it, made network and connections through it, a lot of people hit me up for commissions through it. And then just like followers I guess I can say like, just to expose myself to the other people, like new people.
-How do you promote your Instagram? Like do you go to shows?
[02:24] Doc: Yeah like I just have business cards or like when I go to shows and like give out my business cards, its like how most people find me on Instagram or like through my hashtag. Like I’d put my hashtag on everything when I post it.
-Whats the main focus in your work?
[02:40] Doc: There is no main focus, I’m like all over the place. From like canvas, to like mixed media, to like music, clothing, like I try to do everything.
-Has the use of digital devices saved time or waste time compare to traditional?
[02:55] Doc: Nah it saves time. Now I can just like sketch something out and just like scan it to my computer, and through my computer it could pretty much trace it for me, vectorize it. It all about just know how to use the program.
-When, during the time of year, are you most busiest?
[03:15] Doc: When its warm, like spring through summer, because that’s more like when you actually come out to like festivals and like flea markets and stuff. Like stuff that you’re doing outside that’s when most of the venues is.
-What is the relationship or like the interaction between you and your customers?
[03:33] Doc: Them commenting on my pictures or like liking it or reblogging it or like sharing it.
-So you like feeling nothing but love from them?
[03:42] Doc: Yeah. There’s nobody ever hate on my profile.
-Whats the demographics of your customers?
[03:50] Doc: Probably like sneakerheads, hypebeasts, like the younger college crowd, high school crowd, yeah like the younger generation. They probably get my stuff more so than the other people.
This is an interview with the artist Octavius “Doc” Coleman who is the founder of the local brand from the DMV area, Amzco1987. We’ve been friends for several years now and I have gone to various art shows in the past where he had shared his work, but after this interview I was able to get a better understanding of who he is as an artist and what inspires him. We met at his house one evening in early March. We sat across from each other in his studio room where he normally does his work. Unlike the average artist Doc doesn’t use a desk; he’s more comfortable in working from a canvas-stand and beside the stand, his computer, which he operates from his lap with a wireless keyboard and mouse.
We started off the interview with the introduction of who he was and what kind of art does he do. Then I started asking about his thoughts on Instagram and how it has helped him with his business. Doc replies “It helps me get my art out there, link me with a lot of people, gave me a lot of exposure, and I got a lot of followers from it, so now a lot of people can see my stuff.” Indeed, Instagram has given artists the opportunity to gain more exposure along with public recognition through its sharing capabilities. It has made it easier for artists to share their work more efficiently and it creates a sort of mini profile for the artist which leads to more advertising options for their business. As an artist, he understands that as art evolves with technology, so does the artist. Doc prefers using pencil than a stylus because he’s grown up using this medium and is more comfortable for him. But he admits that he has started to test the waters in digital art because he realized how much time he can save with digital art. When I asked about how much time does he normally spend in front of the screen for his work, he answers, “All day, pretty much all day. Especially if I’m working on something.” But despite the amount of time he has to spend in front of the screen, Doc manage to make time to go out to do outdoor activities such as basketball, especially when the weather is nice out. I believe that in being born in the generation when going out to play and socialize was normal, before the rise of technologies, it has helped us understand the value of going outside, in terms of our health and our ability to communicate with others in person. As technology and digital art continue to grow, so does the artist who has to keep up with the demands in the market.