Eight amazing Toronto Instagram artists—and the best of their dazzling works
Our feeds are flooded with vibrant paintings, illustrations and photographs from a new generation of creative geniuses. Here, eight of our favourite Toronto Insta-artists
@thecrazyplatelady The resident artist at the Ritz-Carlton specializes in whimsical, photorealistic plate portraits of celebs like Matt Damon in The Martian, Will Smith on Fresh Prince and Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal Lecter. But our favourite pieces are the ones that skewer the preciousness of Instagram food photography, creating tantalizing optical illusions of steak, sushi and Alphagetti.
@benjohnston25 The Cape Town–raised graphic designer creates intricate, Escher-esque 3-D lettering—alternately swirly, blocky and surreal—which he applies to wood plaques, murals, stamps and prints. Earlier this year, he teamed up with the luxe lifestyle brand Kit and Ace, designing cups for their in-house café, Sorry Coffee Co.
Knight fell in love with pastel hues as a teen tinting icing at his mother’s bakery and still mixes his paints the same way, depicting androgynous Adonises in a soft Gainsborough palette. In 2014, Knight learned that Gucci had listed his paintings as an inspiration for its fall/winter collection. The label soon asked him to revamp its iconic Flora print and showcased his work at Art Basel.
@drawbertson Back in the ’80s, Robertson left OCAD because his professors deemed his coltish illustrations too cartoonish. Since then, he’s made a name for himself twice over—first as a creative director at MAC Cosmetics, and now as an Insta-star with more than 173,000 followers, collaborations with J.Crew and Bergdorf Goodman, and a fandom that includes Anna Wintour and Beyoncé.
@jenmannart Jen Mann takes photos of herself and her friends, blows them up to gargantuan proportions and recreates them in oil paint. The images occupy a chaotic space between realism and surrealism, made magical with loopy abstract flourishes, a neon Candy Land palette and enough glitter to light downtown Toronto.
@petrafcollins No photographer captures the gauzy romance of millennial sadness better than Petra Collins. In the past year, Collins has worked with Vogue and Elle (she shot the Weeknd’s girlfriend, Bella Hadid), and scored an acting role on Transparent. Her ultimate teen cred? Her best friend is Tavi Gevinson, the 19-year-old Rookie editor and empress of apathetic angst.
Jamie Lee Reardin
Celebrities are the Ryerson grad’s subjects—she’s drawn Karl Lagerfeld, Cara Delevingne and Lana Del Rey, pictured above—and followers: Emma Roberts and January Jones are fans. Reardin’s Gothic, spindly fashion illustrations have landed her gigs with the New York City Ballet, Rachel Zoe and Dior, where she’s the in-house artist.
@hatecopy Qamar lovingly spoofs South Asian aunties and Indian soap operas: her rainbow-bright characters snipe about white girls wearing bindis, nag young women about why they’re not married yet, and encourage the use of skin-lightening creams and Nair. Her louche Lichtensteinian cartoons are available in prints, comics, mugs and T-shirts.