A Brick-by-Brick Examination of the Instagram Wall

Sarah Donawerth
Sarah Donawerth
A Brick-by-Brick Examination of the Instagram Wall

Wearing a coat of Millennial pink, picture perfect, and ready for Instagram. Oh, and did we mention that it’s 78-feet wide? It’s an Instagram wall!

The Instagram wall traces its roots to the urban murals of street artists and the decorations of public buildings, but it reached new heights of popularity with the advent of Instagram. As more people sought to document their outfits, their vacations, and more, they began seeking out spots that were especially “Instagram-worthy.” These hot spots for social media allow people to take the perfect selfie and post it to one of the coveted spots on their feed.

With the increase in Instagram use over recent years, our way of looking at the world, the aesthetic for pictures posted, and even the way that we vacation or decorate our homes, has been influenced by our use of Instagram. This assimilation of visual styles through a single social media app has forever changed the landscape of photography and the Instagram wall.

What is an Instagram Wall?

An Instagram wall can be spotted because of its bright, vivid colors. It may have a connection to a famous street artist, or a brand. Instagram walls can grace the side of businesses as a way to bring in foot traffic, or they can be a way of advertising the arts district of a city.

These Instagram walls have become a popular motif from users of Instagram worldwide. Especially popular for Instagram users who are sharing their travels or their outfits (#OOTD), Instagram walls have become a staple of the Instagram platform.

Popular Instagram Walls in Los Angeles

The Pink Wall

Where: 8221 Melrose Avenue, West Hollywood

About: The wall belongs to the Paul Smith store and is repainted on a regular basis to maintain its color and vibrancy.  

The Turquoise Wall

Where: 8024 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

About: Just a short walk from the Pink Wall is this turquoise wall with colorful stripes.

Made in LA Instagram Wall

Where: 8025 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

About: Also within the same area as the Turqoise wall and the Pink wall, this Made in LA wall advertises that the furniture store carries local, handmade goods, but Instagrammers have adopted it as a great place to take a selfie to celebrate their hometown.

The Rainbows Wall

Where: 8050 Melrose Avenue, Los Angeles

About: On first glance, these rainbows are just illustrations on the wall, but they are actually crocheted rainbows attached to the wall, with sizes for both adults and children.

The RETNA Wall

Where: 625 N. San Vincente Boulevard, West Hollywood

About: Located at the West Hollywood Library, these graffiti mural was created by contemporary artist RETNA for the library. Plus, around the corner on this building is an elephant mural that is worth taking a picture with as well.

The Red “Love” Wall

Where: 8549 Higuera Street, Culver City

About: New York-based artist Curtis Kulig created this wall as part of his “Love Me” campaign, which includes walls and structures from LA to Berlin.  

The Venice Love Wall

Where: 1239 Abbot Kinney Boulevard, Venice

About: Created by Los Angeles street artist James Goldcrown, this wall even has its own hashtag #LoveWall.

The Geometric Mural Wall

Where: 12120 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles

About: It’s located at the National Council of Jewish Women thrift shop and is a popular choice because it offers multiple angles for photographers to get the perfect shot.

The Global Angel Wings Project Wall

Where: 8401 W. 3rd Street, LA

About: Colette Miller has painted her angel wings all over the world, but Los Angeles is home to four of them. This one is at the St. Regis Wine & Liquor store, but there are others at Westfield Century City, on the Regent Theater doors downtown, and at the corner of Palm Avenue and Santa Monica Boulevard in West Hollywood.

The DTLA Arts District

The DTLA Arts District has so many Instagrammable walls that it was hard to narrow it down.

A selection of walls includes:

The Mondrian Wall

Where: 1660 S. La Cienega Blvd.

About: Located at the Artist & Craftsman Supply location at Mid-City, the wall was inspired by the Dutch artist Mondrian. However, the really interesting part of the wall was the sudden appearance of two cat silhouettes that no one can explain. For all the cat people, this wall’s for you.

The California Dreaming Wall

Where: 3485 La Cienega Blvd.

About: Located at Chinese Laundry, this wall was commissioned by the designer footwear brand and designed by typography artist Ricardo Gonzalez.

D*Face Instagram Walls

Where: 1759 Glendale Blvd & 3515 Wilshire Blvd.

About: D*Face is an English street artist known for their pop art style. One of these murals is located on the Six Point Harness building and the other is at the Line Hotel.

The Silver Lake Heart Stairs

Where: 3324 Sunset Blvd, Silver Lake

About: Officially known as the Micheltorena stairs, this location was painted by local artist Corinne Carrey and has become a popular Instagram destination.

Instagram Walls & Changing Instagram Aesthetics

Instagram launched in 2010, which was also when many consumers were adopting the smartphone for the first time. During this time, users had access to a camera wherever they went for the first time ever. This changed the way people captured moments. It was no longer just birthdays and special occasions that people captured on their cameras. People now began to document their lives on their smartphone’s camera roll.

As smartphone users began to document more and more, events became opportunities to photograph. Casual moments turned into photos that could be posted to Instagram. As companies took notice, events changed the way they operated. Instead of focusing on paper programs or souvenirs, they focused their efforts into creating photo-worthy backdrops and scenes where attendees could snap a photo as a souvenir of the experience.

Instagram changed the way that we looked at events and moments. As users, we were looking for photogenic ways to capture the moment and share it with others. Instagram walls fulfilled this need with colorful pictures that performed well on the color-oriented Instagram platform.

Places like the Museum of Ice Cream and Cheat Day Land created pop-up museums. They had displays that could be interactive for Instagrammers looking to capture good pictures. Our experiences became intertwined with our photo-taking as we searched for new and different ways to document life.

However, as soon as it happens on Instagram, the cutting edge is looking for something new to try. Just as the Instagram filters resulted in a new wave of white, light, airy photography to contrast it, so too the Instagram wall will create something new in opposition to the brightly colored walls.

Pushback on the Instagram Wall

While most have enjoyed the trend of the Instagram wall, there are already news outlets exploring ideas like “Is the Instagram Wall Trend Over?” where they posit that the Instagram wall has become a cliche and stereotype, rapidly losing cool points as it becomes more widely adopted.

Matt Klein, a cultural strategist at Sparks & Honey, has noticed a shift from the rainbow colors of earlier Instagram photos to a more realistic, unfiltered look at life. There have been a rise in posts featuring photos that are “Instagrammable” next to photos of what is really happening in the background to achieve these shots.

Although some are arguing that the trend is over, no one seems to question the Instagram wall’s impact on the way we take pictures or the way we experience public spaces. The Instagram wall has been used by businesses and public buildings to gain foot traffic and to share art with the public. Whether you believe the trend to be thriving or dying, the Instagram wall has impacted how we share our public lives through photos.

Experiential Marketing and the Future of Instagram Walls

The future of Instagram isn’t as transformational as some might think. Instagram will continue to be a place for posting pictures. Events/marketing will continue to cater to Instagram-worthy pictures through selfie walls and photo booths. As Danielle Tullo tells us, “A good Instagram photo is like the new party favor.”

Parties will included dedicated Instagram walls, where attendees can take photos to post on Instagram. Instagram will continue to invade the world’s public spaces and spread a particular aesthetic with it.

In fact, we may be seeing the world’s aesthetics coming together through the creative people on Instagram already. Lev Manovich, a professor at City University of New York, completed a 2017 study that analyzed Instagram photos from all over the world. The result showed that brightness, saturation, and hue of these Instagram photos were all slowly gravitating toward a unifying aesthetic. As information becomes more easily available all over the world, Instagram walls and social sharing may slowly assimilate until we arrive at a global aesthetic.

Instagram has become more than a social platform. It’s the reason people now widely know how to edit photos. Public spaces are transforming into photo-friendly places because of Instagram. Instagram has had a profound impact on human culture and will continue to surprise us into the next decade.

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