Meet Instantreigen: An artist I really encourage you to discover, because of their enormous talent expressed in their incredible use of colors. Their designs do not merely exist on (virtual) paper, but are also brought to life through other objects, like for example, pins, stickers and t-shirts. Designs so vibrant, I couldn’t resist asking them to be my guest here today. If you’re a true follower of the Spotlight section, their name should ring a bell, because they already played a part in a previous Spotlight and yes, that’s how I discovered them myself. At first glance, do you recognize their special brand of art from that particular Spotlight?
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My Kind of Art, with Instantreigen.
“I’m the person who rotates the square in Tetris”.
Today music plays a secondary role, though you’ll find out a lot of Instantreigen’s art is inspired by musicians and their music, a lot of which I also like. If it wasn’t for music, I might not have found today’s guest at all. By now you might have figured out where their name and art popped up before: in the Spotlight on Mr. Hoosteen, it was their drawing that made for a really awesome – and exclusively made!! – profile portrait. Let me display that piece of art one more time, since it’s just as marvelous as Instantreigen’s self-portrait above, of which they btw said, I quote: ‘I’m surprised by how well it turned out, when I draw myself it usually looks nothing like me’. Excuse you me, it’s AMAZING.
So yes, we met through Mr. Hoosteen – and isn’t that just how things always seem to happen on my blog – but to be even more specific, we met through Discoholic, since we we’re all joining his Discord server. It’s a pretty happy bunch up there and getting in contact with new people – most of them artists of some kind – has never been easier and more fun for me. Right after the Spotlight on Mr. Hoosteen was published, we got to talk about it and I was so happy to ‘meet’ the creator of that incredible portrait. The first thing that really moved me, was how humble Instantreigen is about their own work and how very easy and pleasant to talk to. Not gonna lie, though their art has this really cool and strong vibe, their sweetness definitely shows too.
I told them how grateful I was and how this was the first time ever, someone did something so special for one of my articles. I still can’t express in words how that even feels. From there on it didn’t take me two breaths to throw in the ‘can-we-do-a-Spotlight-on-your-art?!?’ bomb and so here we are. I only ever did one previous Spotlight about art – about visual artist SleepPattern – so it shouldn’t be a surprise today’s article will be something a bit different. But it’s nice to shake things up a little, to prevent it all from getting too predictable. So throughout this page, you see some of the designs done by Instantreigen and I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as I do. I recommend you look them up on Instagram, where more pieces are shown and I’m telling you, their page is pretty neat.
Where I would normally talk about the music productions from the artist of the day, you could say I’m trying to do about the same regarding Instantreigen’s art. Art should make you feel, just as music does. Instantreigen’s art hit me the same way some great music does and I cannot deny, their use of colors was the first thing that blew my colorful mind. I mean, Hot Pink?! You got me in the blink of an eye. However, Instantreigen immediately explained to me, that particular hot pink was Mr. Hoosteen’s exclusively and they had their own, signature Red-Pink. It’s what you see reoccurring in the art displayed here. Oeff. It’s all so bold and yet so friendly and happy, in my opinion very hard to overlook let alone dislike.
The only offical art class I ever had, was the one in highschool, where we all had to choose a one week event, to spend either with all things sport, music or art. I have always been into water coloring, but drawing was something I never really mastered. That week I did manage to pick up some tricks, but I ended up just accepting it was not my thing and I would stick to my water colors. So I am not gonna pretend I have any idea how Instantreigen creates all this. During that week however, we did visit the – at that time newly reopened – Vincent van Gogh museum in Amsterdam, where an exhibition of Keith Haring was displayed. It was something that truly made an impression, because of the very particular art and again, use of colors. Well, it was nice to discover, Instantreigen also finds some inspiration in Keith Haring’s work.
Anyways, I’m very honored to have Instantreigen as my guest today, since they have been extremely busy with assignments, exams and even a newly installed kitchen. So much so, they barely had time to celebrate their birthday! So, Happy Belated Birthday Instantreigen! It always makes me realize how much work any independent artist puts into their art. It’s easy to forget they have to actually go to school/university, and/or, work a job (or 2!), as long as their art is not bringing in enough revenue to live from. It’s deceiving to only look at, or listen to, the end results – which are most often amazing – because it will make us forget the many hours it took to actually get there. Supposedly free hours. When recently one of them tweeted how they ‘needed to be artists of many mediums’, because it ‘all falls on themselves’, I felt that.
As much as I realize it is their choice, it definitely earns my respect: without their devotion, we would not be able to enjoy the fruits of their labor! I was so very happy when Instantreigen sent me their replies and artwork! I really, really hope, it will be an encouragement as well as an inspiration to you all. And as for the interview that we’re about to dive into: Instantreigen told me something that only confirmed they needed their own time in the Spotlights. I quote: ‘I’ve always imagined giving answers in interviews as a kid so my inner kid is SCREAMING right now hehe’. Isn’t that just the cutest thing?! I remember all too well I used to walk around with my tiny cassette recorder as a little girl, ‘interviewing’ people around me. Well, this might be a bit different, but we both get to live our dream. Enjoy!
Let’s start with the obvious: Can you please introduce yourself and tell us; Who is Instantreigen? Does your name have a special meaning? And when (and how) did you start drawing ? Besides drawing, do you design other things as well?
‘ Yes of course! Hello, I am Ezgi! I am a digital artist/illustrator from Berlin, Germany with roots in Turkey. However, most simply know me as my artist persona – Instantreigen! There honestly is no special meaning behind that name, but I like to explain it to people regardless. When I first decided to join social media, I was looking for a username, this was Summer ’17 if I remember correctly, and the first platform I wanted to join was Instagram. I thought to myself, okay, this is Instagram, and it would be cool to have a username beginning with “instant”, so I tried every combination possible, instant-noodles, instant-coffee, and so on and so forth but obviously those were already taken! At the time I had a big obsession with the Anime Mob Psycho 100, so I decided to just pick my favorite character’s name – Reigen Arataka haha. Looking back it is kinda childish, but I like it honestly so I am keeping this name!
I think I started drawing before talking or walking. It has ALWAYS been my favorite thing to do, and still is! I remember drawing with my mother and my father and impressing everyone at kindergarten and elementary school with my drawings of SpongeBob SquarePants (this might not show in my art, but that show had a huge artistic impact on me!) and doodling during classes all the time – even today at university! However, I think I only started taking it seriously around the end of 2016, and I started going digital in September 2017 with a tiny drawing tablet that I still use to this day!
I do design other things too! From Flyers to Websites to Enamel Pins to Mockups of a broad variety of things (more about the last two later ;)), I try to expand my artistic skillset as often as I can, though frankly my skillset in drawing and digital art is certainly the most developed one hehe’.
You designed the portrait of Mr. Hoosteen, for his Spotlight – which I Totally Love and Appreciate! – nobody else had something like that on a Spotlight before! What’s the story here?
‘I am so glad you love it! That drawing was really well received, I think. To be honest, I always wanted to draw him, and my other friends too (shoutout to Radd and Emily, both very talented musicians and wonderful human beings – still gonna draw you two too!) and he told me about this Spotlight he was going to have here and asked me what I thought would fit the best for the gallery. I was like, oh my god wait! I wanted to draw you for so long!! So, I sat down the night before it was published and just poured everything onto my digital canvas, it was so refreshing and so much fun! He still feels bad about it because he is convinced it must have been tiring for me, especially this late, but it was one of the most rejuvenating journeys ever’.
You’re (obviously?) inspired by Daft Punk, but who or what else inspires you? And could you tell a bit about how your creative process works?
‘Oh boy where do I begin! I feel like almost anything in my life can inspire me to be honest, in some way or another. I would say my main influences come from the 90s to early 2000s pop culture, comics and animation, but also from music, especially (French) House, Disco, and Big Beat, and ESPECIALLY from fellow artist friends, like Mr. Hoosteen or Emily. To name a couple of people rather than concepts, Jamie Hewlett, So-Me, Keith Haring, Yashar Kassai, Patrick O’Keefe and more have such unique styles and I like to incorporate some of their characteristics into mine! And music videos too, gosh I spent so much time in front of my TV or computer watching music videos all day long!
As for my creative process, it varies from time to time honestly. The only rule I have set for myself is that I will only draw when I want to draw; in my opinion forced art does not look good. Usually, I get an idea either randomly throughout the day (I sketch/write it down somewhere to not forget it), by looking at other art, outfits, mood boards etc, or by ideas that friends give me. Sometimes I just sit down and actively think about what to draw too, that usually happens when I want to draw something big and important. What comes after that is easy, I sketch out my idea and refine it until it looks good, then I either clean up my sketch or in most cases do line art based on my sketch, and then I color and shade and give it a background. Sometimes the order of these steps is mixed up, but all in all that is about it!’
What would you consider the ultimate personal achievement, in regards to your art? Can you share at least one highlight from your years of creating art and what it meant to you?
‘I think my ultimate achievement so far is my collaboration with the amazing Veridis Quo Design-Team! We made a handful of Daft Punk inspired enamel pins, and our goal was to make them as authentic, detailed and well-designed as possible. It was a nice challenge for me since I had never previously designed anything that was going to be a real, physical product, everything had to be perfect. I learned a lot of new techniques and what it means to create a clear, detailed and good looking design that will be timeless. It didn’t stop at just the pin either, we also made promotional artwork and limited edition signed posters too! I felt like a tiny businessperson haha. People have mistaken them for real Daft Punk merch so I think I did pretty well there!
The overall positive feedback on that project is astonishing, especially seeing how far those pins and posters travel all around the world! People from the USA to the UK to Europe to Australia were so kind to purchase the fruits of our hard collaborative work and it makes me so happy they found a caring, loving home. We are currently working on unveiling another pin concept we had in the works for months – a set of two! Not sure how much I am allowed to say, but I can already say it is gonna be nothing like any other Daft Punk Pin!’
How do you look at your fellow artists: do you consider the ‘competition’ fierce or how do you manage to ‘stand out in the crowd’?
‘To be honest I rarely ever view other artists as competition, unless it is an actual contest I am participating in. I like to view fellow artists as sources of inspiration, and I hope to inspire them back. However, it is sometimes necessary to stand out in the crowd, and I think I do a good job with my use of what my friends lovingly call the Instantreigen Red, I try to incorporate it into many if not all my drawings in one way or another. I think that combination of heavily saturated colors, (complementary) contrasts, the way I draw people and my relatively bold line art helps me stand out!’
You love to collab with others, are there certain things you look for specifically in a collaboration? Or the other way around: do people find you because you have something specific they are looking for?
‘I have been collaborating with artists big and small ever since I started drawing digitally, I think, and to be honest I do not think I have anything specific I look for in a collaboration. For me it matters the most that my own personal chemistry with the person or people I want to collaborate with is right; I wouldn’t want to paint with someone as skilled as Bob Ross with a Gordon Ramsey personality! I usually collaborate with friends for that reason, in addition to that I am actually quite shy so asking people who I don’t have a bond with is kind of out of question. I like to create with people who either have a really similar style to mine – or a completely different one!
The other way around happened with my Veridis Quo Design collaboration though! They reached out to me because they thought my Daft Punk fanart I had posted online had that certain edge and cyberpunk vibe to it and they’ve been meaning to capture that in a pin. More generally speaking, I think when people want to collaborate with me they value my use of colors and my attention to detail apart from a possible already existing friendship’.
What I’ve seen so far from your work – I tried to look up as much as possible 😉 – I love your use of colors – well, obviously – it’s all sending very strong, positive vibes in my opinion. If you had to choose 5 pieces of which you’re most proud of/which would show off your skills, which ones would that be?
‘That is such a difficult question! I love all my drawings like they are my own children, and I am just as proud of them. However, for the sake of this interview I will present my all-time favorites:
I drew them as sort of a teaser for the VQD collab, and I’ve been using the Guy Manuel one as my social media icon for a long time! I love the minimalistic color palette, and the grain filter makes it pop in my opinion! This is what people associate me with the most I’d say’.
‘It was so cool to come up with the weapons and choice of clothing, I love experimenting with colors and concepts and twisting and tweaking around already existing concepts to make them meet my desires.
Something unusual for me was making mock-ups. I never thought I’d be good at it but apparently my knowledge from other art departments was sufficient enough!
‘Featuring his album artwork and my symbols on the disc itself I think this is one of my favorite side-projects! I will definitely keep doing mock-ups for products and ideas, and I am looking forward to learning more techniques and how to work more efficiently. This was done in absolutely unprofessional free software in an absolutely unprofessional way, but hey, it works haha. I honestly love how well his and my aesthetics melt together – we both are big fans of the color pink! It is a wonderful color. Speaking of it…’
‘I don’t think I have ever put as much detail into a drawing before this one, from the shoes to the Napoleon Dynamite shirt to the sock and tattoos and clothes and all the stickers on the board, I probably spent an entire day just planning these out and researching how the things I drew actually look in real life; another one looking up skating poses and cool pants for this cool guy. I am especially proud of the board; I even repurposed some parts of pervious artworks I made for it. Try and count as many references as you can find!’
‘This drawing was the last one of my Ed Banger Artist Portrait Series – Heavily inspired and influenced by the great So-Me. I made it exactly one year after Zdar’s unfortunate death, and I did get very emotional referencing his face and knowing he was no longer with us. With this one I hope I reached some people who were mourning with me – and I hope they are all as happy as I am that we were lucky enough to experience such a brilliant mind in our lifetimes’.
Is there anything else you would like to add / share with the readers? Anything I did not ask about maybe?
‘I think it might be a good idea to end this with the most important thing for anything really, but especially art and illustration: Motivation. To be honest, I have been struggling to motivate myself to draw recently. Life is keeping me busy and too occupied to be as creative as I would like to be, but one thing I wanna tell you and the readers is the following; if you are a creative person or like to pursue creative hobbies, do yourself that favor and push yourself to create if you can.
Obviously I don’t mean to ignore important events and deadlines, but from experience I can say that just doodling and sketching for five minutes every day keeps me from entering a huge art block. I’ve started to pick that habit up again, and I even managed to do a full illustration just for this article! Put on some music (I have a Spotify On Repeat playlist if you are curious!), take that coffee shop napkin and a ballpoint pen and just doodle to your heart’s desire. It doesn’t sound like a lot, but for me at least it gives me some motivation to continue to draw, since drawing is honestly exhausting sometimes. And I get to keep a cool looking napkin!’
WOW! Just WOW! Thank you so, so much Instantreigen! Thank you for all the effort you’ve put into this and also adding your workflow to the DeLorean pics, I never could have written that. I love your art and feel truly blessed you wanted to join my blog and share some of your wonderful work, amazing! I will add you to my Spotlight page asap, where you will join all previous Spotlights and remain indefinitely. Oh and @Emily…I haven’t forgotten 😉
And to you my readers: Look them up! Show them a little love, it’s not that hard, just
Wishing y’all a very Artsy Weekend, draw something, if even the line, relax your mind. Peace, Love & Unwind ❤
Any Use of the Art Shown on This Page Without Permission, is Strictly Prohibited!