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Instacanvas' Night Out - Oct. 10 2013

Instacanvas’ Night Out – Oct. 10 2013

By Trishna Patel

On Thursday, Instacanvas, the mobile photography marketplace that allows users to buy and sell Instagram photos as canvases, prints and other products, is hosting its first art show at the Hamilton Gallery in Santa Monica.

Instacanvas’ “Night Out” gallery show will showcase the work of nearly 70 mobile photographers, all of whom were either voted in by short-term contests or selected based on the website’s most searched, and therefore most visible, images.

“There’s always been barriers of control in creative communities, where one person decides what hangs in a gallery or museum or how much someone has to pay,” Instacanvas’ chief executive and co-founder Matt Munson said. “We allow the masses to “curate” and determine what they think is the most interesting and engaging.”

The chosen artists at the show include Michael Perretta, a Grammy Award-winning producer and member of the American rap group Dilated Peoples, and Holly Ellis, a business development manager for an interior design company.

“To be chosen by my peers has a different value,” said Ellis, who was invited to the show based on her Instagram popularity. “Many are artists I admire, so that makes it a huge honor for me.”

Munson said the show is a celebration of what Instacanvas has achieved in the last few years. The start-up, which launched in 2009, is now home to 30 million images by 200,000 artists from 120 countries around the world. The site has also facilitated thousands of transactions between artists and those wanting to buy their work. “Bringing all that incredible art into a physical gallery seemed like a natural extension of that,” Munson said.

Other featured artists include George Sifuentes and Andres Tardio.

Sifuentes is a television development executive who started an Instacavas account as an easy way for family and friends to purchase his prints. He now sells his work to people he has never met.

Tardio, a writer, acknowledged that Instacanvas’ show is just one of the many ways Instagram has “leveled the playing field” by marrying the advancements in mobile technology with the pervasiveness of social media.

“Its convenience constantly challenges the [Instagram] community to create inspiring work that’s less about the type of equipment you have and more about the person,” Tardio said. “Images we took on our phones are now hanging in an actual gallery. I don’t think any of us thought that was possible.”

Well, it is possible. Come see for yourself.

Photos showcased at the event will be available for purchase through a running silent auction. All proceeds will benefit the environmental group Heal the Bay, a partner in the “Night Out” show. RSVP here.

Follow Trishna Patel on Twitter.

Photo credits, clockwise from top left: George Sifuentes, Andres Tardio, Holly Ellis and Michael Perretta

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