Tanya Ling Instagram composite, March 2015
Tanya Ling, Instagram composite, March 2015

In the second of our series on artists using Instagram, Tanya Ling discusses her manipulation of the grid format to produce compositions that combine illustration, painting, sculpture and photography. To coincide with the opening of The EY Exhibition: Sonia Delaunay at Tate Modern, we invited Tanya to take over the Tate Instagram

Tanya Ling Instagram composite 3
Tanya Ling, Instagram composite, September 2014

I was introduced to Instagram by Peter Copping, who is an old friend of mine from St. Martins. He seemed to be addicted to it, led me astray and now I too have something of a habit.

For the first three weeks I posted images of stuff in my studio, photos of my daughters and friends, art works made by myself and others, and then I made the first grid or mosaic where the individual tiles fed through the app only make sense when seen grouped together and viewed through the grid view. At first it took a little working out and there was a bit of trial and error and my followers were left wondering why I was posting seemingly random stuff.

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Tanya Ling, Instagram composite, August 2014

I find it tremendously rewarding playing with the images, cropping here and splicing there. At first the methods were rudimentary but now they are more sophisticated as I’ve found other apps and software to further manipulate and construct the images before posting.

Tanya Ling Instagram composite 2
Tanya Ling, Instagram composite, January 2015

The great thing is the world of possibilities it has given me. The internet allows you to begin with any image you like - the supply is limitless; what’s more, you can also use your own photos. I like to juxtapose the improbable with the unlikely and surprise myself. One group of images lead and morph into the next, so it isn’t really possible to run out of ideas.

Tanya Ling Instagram composite 6
Tanya Ling, Instagram composite, July 2014


Instagram made me a ‘recommended follower’ and then Simon de Pury spoke about my feed at a symposium at Art Basel, which changed the response I was receiving and conversations I was able to have with my audience. I have been best known as a fashion illustrator but my life is in transition and I want to spend the rest of it working as an artist. Gaining an art world following through the feed has helped me change perceptions and reposition my identity which, given my ambition, is helpful.

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Tanya Ling, Instagram composite, September 2014

Like this? Capture and consumption: Images and digital culture is a panel discussion on artists who use social media, taking place at Tate Modern, Starr Auditorium, Wednesday 6 May 2015 18.30 - 20.30  Book now

View the rest of Tanya Ling's Instagram feed