With j-hope, IG stands for InGenious
Ever since j-hope opened his Instagram (IG) account @uarmyhope, he has received much media attention and accolade for his clever and creative concept and content, his natural talent and keen eye for photography (proven by his analogue and Polaroid photography experimentation) and the overall aesthetics of his feed.
As with everything else that j-hope does, his IG feed is prove of another talent he excels in. To date, j-hope has made 66 posts and has 30.2M followers, which include verified accounts of high profiles such as artists, brands, creatives, and the media. But beyond the aesthetics and statistics, j-hope’s IG feed must be admired for its ingenuity. IG is more than social media playground for him; it is a vast canvas for his self portrait with which he has created yet another feature exclusive to his personal brand.
Intro: A Mixtape on Instagram
j-hope’s IG feed is like a mixtape, as carefully-planned and brilliantly-executed as his record-making debut mixtape ‘HOPE WORLD’. It is a meaningful collection of adventures, ideas and memories from various places, events and experiences. A mixtape in its true sense is a compilation of music from multiple sources recorded onto a medium. The mixtape concept typically stems from hip-hop artists rapping over beats that may or may not be theirs and has its origins in the 1980s. The term also normally describes a homemade compilation of music onto a cassette tape, CD, or digital playlist (Sources: Wikipedia, Victrola). j-hope’s compilation is instead on Instagram, as he shares with us experiences that his audience does not usually have access to, from his perspective of the SoFi arena in PTD LA behind-the-scenes, to his favourite shows and music, to his OOTDs.
And, just as his ‘HOPE WORLD’ introduced us to the very distinct and unique j-hope sound, musical style, and artistry, his IG feed does the same. j-hope is showcasing and asserting his individual identity through @uarmyhope. This identity is separate and unique from the collective, as it clearly shows j-hope is his own person with his own ideas, thoughts, goals and above all, vision. His IG feed is his self-portrait and journal, as close to his true self as only he allows it to be. It is a platform different from the usual that his fans are used to and, it is for those who genuinely want to know him. Through @uarmyhope, he reveals other facets of j-hope we have not been given the chance to see, till now.
Side One: A Self Portrait of Individuality
@uarmyhope gives us glimpses of j-hope the individual as he invites us to not only see his posts but observe and get to know him through them. He has very cleverly and effectively established his distinct identity as we are treated to a side of j-hope the man and the artist, who is vastly different from the oft-quoted yet least-understood sunshine persona. And he does it all with yet another talent he excels in, photography, with beautiful compositions that show his innate understanding and appreciation of the art form.
His IG feed is largely a gallery of retro style; his photos bear the analogue mark with richer, more saturated, almost dramatic yet muted colours and film grain effects that evoke nostalgia. They are an ode to an era (80s-2000s) that he has a special love for. He has many times shared with us this special love of his via music (i.e. his discography and HoTS playlists, among others) and most evidently, in his sartorial choices, which are really more than just ‘boyfriend looks’. His choices reflect his personal style, largely inspired, and influenced by hip hop.
Side Two: Individuality as Personal Branding
@uarmyhope is a place of discovery for the many other sides of j-hope we rarely get to see. j-hope’s photos of himself, his outfits of the day, the places he goes to, the music he listens to, the shows he watches, all these tell us more about him. Yet these posts, while they are about him, are also about many other things.
His IG feed is also a place of discovery for new knowledge and information on art, design, fashion and more, most of which are or have become closely associated with him. His feed encourages his audience to engage in intellectual discussion through aesthetic appreciation and critical analysis of his posts. More significantly, they have become features to his personal branding as an individual artist. Let us revisit moments in his IG feed to appreciate his brilliant vision.
1. ‘😈’: ‘POST NO BILLS’ on 7 Dec 2021
j-hope posted two photos of what seems a street wall with the sign ‘POST NO BILLS’ on it; one has him standing next to the sign. But what exactly does ‘POST NO BILLS’ mean or refer to? Many fans theorized that it was j-hope’s subtle ‘hint’ at ‘something’ new to come. However, ‘POST NO BILLS’ actually has its origins in notices that are put up on streetlamps and street walls, meant to stop people from flyposting. Flyposting is also known as wild posting or bill posting and has been described as a ‘guerrilla marketing tactic’ mostly used by small businesses to promote concerts and political activist groups (Source: Wikipedia, Google).
Interestingly, the sign in his photo itself could be interpreted as graffiti. A closer look at the second photo where he stands next to the notice, shows a faint image of an artwork (possibly graffiti) that has been painted over with white. Such purposeful, meaningful, and impactful graffiti adorn many streets around the world.
This graffiti connection elevates the whole concept of guerrilla marketing tactic to a whole other level and is so satisfyingly clever, you cannot help but appreciate j-hope’s decision to capture and post these very strategically-taken photos. Whether his intent to educate is by design or not, is of a different matter altogether. What is important is that j-hope has brought attention to the unique history behind the notice ‘POST NO BILLS’ and an entire art movement and form.
For more about ‘Post No Bills’ and its variations, you may visit these sites:
Post No Bills
The phrase "Post No Bills" is ubiquitous on construction site walls throughout New York City, even though it rarely…
Post No Bills
In the above photo you can see posters advertising Banksy's movie, Exit Through the Gift Shop, on a hoarding in SoHo in…
To know more about graffiti, here are some sites that may help:
Street and Graffiti Art Movement Overview
"Some people might say it's all a big waste of time, no one cares about their opinion if their name isn't written in…
Graffiti art | Tate
Graffiti art has its origins in 1970s New York, when young people began to use spray paint and other materials to…
2. ‘Happy New Year’: Keith Haring Polaroid Film on 2 Jan 2022
j-hope posted three self-portrait photos using the Keith Haring Edition Polaroid Film to wish his fans ‘Happy New Year’. The series quickly became a lesson in art history for many of his audience who looked up and shared information on Keith Haring (1958–1990), the American artist whose pop art came from the 1980s graffiti subculture in New York. Haring dedicated much of his time and effort in creating public artworks with social messages; he made more than 50 pieces between 1982 and 1989 alone and most were especially for charities, hospitals, and orphanages.
This series tells us more about j-hope’s love for aesthetics and art and especially his affiliation with pop art, street art and graffiti (one of many hip hop elements). What is also very clear is how he not only enjoys art for art’s sake but for how artists and their art come with purpose and impact, being the means and medium for philanthropy and doing good in this world. It is apt for a man who is well-known for his big heart and generosity, having made multiple donations to help many causes.
3. Insta Story: Louis Vuitton x Nike Air Force 1 by Virgil Abloh on 23 Jan 2022
j-hope posted an Insta story dedicated to the late Virgil Abloh, fashion designer, entrepreneur, DJ, and artistic director of Louis Vuitton. His story showed his Nike Air Force 1 with the note “Virgil was here” followed by another note ‘THANKS@LOUISVUITTON’.
The Air Force 1s were a collaboration between Nike and Louis Vuitton and aimed at making the shoes “a super-luxe item” connecting sneakers to high fashion. Abloh explained in one of his show notes that the collaboration was inspired by the cover of Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock’s hip-hop album It Takes Two in which a Nike Air Force 1 decorated with a Louis Vuitton monogram makes an appearance, highlighting “…the hip-hop community’s early practice of hacking together high fashion and sportswear, side-lining diverging brands with equal reverence…”. Abloh stated that he is “…challenging the perceptions of what’s ‘formal’ and what’s ‘street’: Is a man in tailoring trustworthy? Is a man in ‘streetwear’ less trustworthy?”, further explaining that “he wants to remix these enough that both lose their traditional symbolism” (from Virgil Abloh Is Bringing the Nike Air Force 1 to Louis Vuitton) .
j-hope is known for his impeccable style and taste in fashion; he has proven many times his unmatched ability to mix things up with class and grace when it comes to his clothes and accessories. His mix-and-match ensembles are always on point, picture-perfect and suited for the occasion that he is in. He truly embodies the high-end streetwear concept and pulls off luxury formal wear with finesse too. With his ingenuity in fashion, design and style, it would be a dream come true to see j-hope’s very own label and multiple collections gracing the top runways of the fashion industry one day.
4. ‘Metasequoia’ on 14 Feb 2022
In this series of photos, j-hope captured the beauty of a line of dawn redwood trees, also known as water fir or water larch i.e. Metasequoia. Because he named the post ‘Metasequoia’, it spurred many to make their own discovery of what it meant and what it referred to and a whole geography meets science meets history adventure ensued.
More than anything, j-hope’s talent and eye for photography is even more evident in this series, seen in his composition. He takes his audience’s attention with leading lines, the pathway created by the road he is on and the trees that line the sides of the roads. We are immediately drawn to the symmetry and pattern created by them and enjoy the beautiful landscape he captures even more. On a side note, ‘Metasequoia’ makes for a wonderful single/mixtape/solo album title and its location, for a beautiful MV.
5. Insta Story: Super Bowl Halftime Show on 14 Feb 2022
j-hope tuned in to watch the live broadcast of the 2022 Super Bowl LVI Halftime Show that took place at the SoFi Stadium. Headlining it were Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige with special appearances by 50 Cent and Anderson Paak, as well as Sean Forbes and Warren “WAWA” Snipe who provided ASL interpretations of the music. It was the first time ever that hip hop took centre stage at the Super Bowl and the great song choices recalled its history and influence, making the entire show the perfect tribute.
He was also more than happy to share his live reactions to the critically-acclaimed performance via his Insta Story. He even sang along to ‘California Love’ and ended his story by thanking them all for what has been ranked as one of the greatest halftime shows of all time.
j-hope’s sharing of his live reaction to this amazing show also opened up a new world for those among his audience who may be new to the genre and its greatest icons. Above all, we learn a bit more about j-hope and his affiliation with hip hop; he is deeply appreciative of and well-versed in old and new generation hip hop, especially given his dance background and foundation. It explains as well why he is such a natural at rap.
Outro: j-hope the InGenious Curator
j-hope’s curation of meaningful content complete with a sharp eye for aesthetics comes with thought, intent and careful planning. It reflects not only the talent but the character of the man; he is focused, purposeful and dedicated. He respects the craft and his audience so he never gives anything less than 100%. This consistent quality of his has made even his IG feed the standard for sophisticated style with substance, just like in everything else he does. Above all, it has become so closely associated with him as an artist who proves to be excellent in yet another talent; it would not be an overstatement to say that j-hope has made IG his very own arena for personal branding.