Someone can have a cohesive grid and still not feel happy with it. They can STILL have shiny object syndrome. They can still be formulating images as a response to the Instagram trends and not a response to their own creative core (points to my 2016-self sheepishly). Which is why I would never tell someone that the stereotypical definition of an “aesthetic” is what qualifies them to occupy space on Instagram.
Do you ever look at someone’s beautifully consistent grid and think “How do they manage to get everything to look so perfect”? I certainly have, and it wasn’t healthy or helpful or warranted.
I scrolled through the Instagram grids of people who I really admired and felt that ever-familiar comparison bug. Envy of their beautiful grid threw me back to being sixth-grade Christina, sitting by myself at lunch because I couldn’t wear my Paul Frank (anybody remember Paul Frank?) sweatshirt as “well” as the popular girl. Little did I know that the popular girl was winging it just as much (if not more) than I was.
I spent this weekend on the couch with a nasty cold, and while I laid there snuggled up with a hot water bottle, I decided to dive deep into the work I’ve been pulling together for the Instagram Aesthetic Method (which is hitting the inboxes of my email subscribers on 30 of April, by the way)! And as I was working on it, I realised that I wanted to create something that does the EXACT OPPOSITE of making you feel like you have to conform to the “oh-so-perfect” grid.
Because ultimately, my goal is to make you feel INCLUDED at the table-- not like the table is only welcoming the people whose grids are perfectly outfitted in similar colours and styles. I want you to know that ANYONE can tap into their creativity in WHATEVER way suits them, and they can stand proudly as they review the beauty they’ve cultivated with their hands.
So I’m going to tell you something before you work through this method: as far as I’m concerned, an aesthetic is not a prerequisite for sitting at the “cool kids” table of Instagram. There’s a misconception about what an aesthetic actually is-- people assume it’s a grid with similar colours throughout. A similar “vibe” to all of the images. And the people who have “cracked” that code and achieved that consistency are the “pros” on Instagram. But actually, it’s not that reductionist.
Because I don’t define an aesthetic as JUST cohesiveness.
See, coherence should be a bi-product of creative clarity: your grid starts to come together as you start to realise what you love and what kind of artist you are. The continuity of your grid accompanies an unearthed and UNIQUE personal style. It is born out of direction and intention as opposed to shiny-object syndrome.
So for me, an aesthetic is much less about the isolated traits like consistent colours and MORE about the inward traits like emotion and storytelling.
This is not Mean Girls, and you do NOT have to wear pink on Wednesdays. You can wear whatever colour you like-- just let it be a colour that expresses your core creativity. Let your SOUL dictate your art-- not the other way around.
In other words, please know that I am not here to pressure you into the “stereotype” of an aesthetic. I’m here, quite simply, to help you gain clarity in your creative purpose. From that, a cohesive grid will come. But whether it does or not, you are ALWAYS welcome at the Instagram table. Wild, unusual, and every style in between. We’re The Breakfast Club over here, and we welcome the popular girls AND the misfits *sings “Don’t You Forget About Me” to herself while throwing her fist in the air.*
I'm pulling up a chair for you, sweet friend. And if you want in on the action to get my Instagram Aesthetic Method, you can sign up for it here.