Paintings exploring the Paradox of Social Media

The paradox of social media is how much we depend upon it. Street art is particularly linked in fact it’s probably co-dependent. In fact this is probably true with most types of art! It doesn’t really matter. If you’re an artist and you’re not on social media then you’re probably either in the minority. Either that or you have such a strong collection of private buyers that you just don’t need it.

It was this theme that prompted a group of artists from around the world to showcase their own takes on this ‘social paradox’ at an exhibition in London’s Stolen Space Gallery. All given the same brief, a simple phrase, they managed to create their own interpretations in their own style.

'Free Wifi' Art from Nafir. Part of the Social Paradox Exhibitions of Paintings at the Stolen Space gallery
Nafir ‘Free Wifi’

The Social Paradox at Stolen Space

“The technology built to bring us closer to the people furthest away, is taking us further away from the people closest to us.”

It’s that quote from the founders of the Calio app Ramy Al-Kadhi and Latif Baluch that was sent to the artists for them to do what they wanted with it. Calio is the tech start-up who commissioned the work. Their personal calendar app is designed to make it easier for people to meet up. They had been mulling over the irony of how difficult it is for people to connect these days. This despite technology seemingly making it easier.

The paintings themselves look at the way people interact in social media in all of it’s different forms. It featured a number of artists both familiar and new to us here on Inspiring City. In particular the work of iheart and Nafir stood out. Iheart from Vancouver has become famous for his often shared image of a young boy crying on account of his lack of followers. Nafir meanwhile is a stencil artist. He operates out of Iran and keeps his identity secret. His work often disappears soon after it appears on the streets of Tehran.

'No Followers' painting by iheart' part of the Social Paradox exhibition at the Stolen Space Gallery
iheart – ‘no followers’

Social Media Embedded in our Daily Lives

Beyond those artists, the Italian artist Millo is well known to this blog. We even interviewed him a few years ago here. The likes of Martin Whatson, the London Police, Mau Mau, Word to Mother, Joe Lurato, Mad Steez and Myneandyours also contributed works.

“Social media is so deeply embedded in our daily lives. I felt it was unfair for it to be exempt from any mockery” explained iheart. “It’s sad to think that the technology that has made us privy to every waking moment of each other’s lives is also the wedge that drives us further from the people peripheral to our screens.

The Social Paradox exhibition ran at the Stolen Space gallery from 23-26 November 2017. It was curated by StreetArtNews and commissioned by Calio. We visited the exhibition on 26 November 2017.

Painting by Martin Whatson at the Social Paradox exhibition at the Stolen Space Gallery
Martin Whatson
Mad Steez
Word to Mother
Artwork by Joe Lurato at the Social Paradox exhibition in the Stolen Space gallery
Joe Lurato
The London Police
Painting by Millo at the Social Paradox exhibition at the Stolen Space Gallery
Mau Mau

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