Social media is a relatively new form of media, but that is not stopping John Vander Stelt, ‘68, from using the media for art. Now the hashtag has shown up in an art gallery. Vander Stelt is focusing on Instagram specifically for his art exhibit now on display at the Korver Visual Arts Center. The open house for the exhibit was held on Monday, Sep. 21.
Vander Stelt has been posting snapshots of the moments in his life for nearly three years. Driven by friends and family, he makes art through his iPhone’s Instagram app and has found beauty in an app that everyone now finds commonplace. Four photos are displayed in the unusual framing of an iPhone outline, as if they were on Instagram. The influence of his family is clear in the main display in his art show. One of Vander Stelt’s favorites is a photo of his father that he took on his father’s birthday.
Similarly, a picture of a hay field where his nephew just built a home is on display in brilliant colors.
One of the more abstract photos is of a paint can, which contains paint and a large swirl of linseed oil streaming throughout the mixed contents. All the photos on display are enlargements of the original picture on his iPhone, which is only minorly adjusted for clarity.
The large framed photos are dispersed among smaller photos of various items like farm elevators, a cup of coffee, a padlock and other eclectic items and color schemes. Vander Stelt values his photos as material that “displays the tangible experience of the viewer and speaks to the public Instagram movement and how it has caught on in our culture.”
Students from NW have gone to see the exhibit. Alison Kuglin, a senior at Northwestern, expressed that she “really appreciates that he chose to display his work in a way that is very relatable because so many people use Instagram.”
The photos are on display in Te Paske Art Gallery for the next three weeks in the art building south of the theater. Vander Stelt’s photos are also on his Instagram account entitled “jvstelt”, but to fully experience the beauty and artistic ability, one only needs to go see the photos in person.