Although Instagram has amassed 500 million users to date, not everybody uses it just for photos of food, cats and selfies. Local creative Ron Lin (@ronlinrw) is one such user. He’s turned his Instagram account into his creative outlet to cope with the daily grind. He only started curating his feed two years ago but now, he shares his stories with more than 13,200 followers through a series of nine photos in a three-by-three grid format. Here, he tells us more.
Ron and friends in a red house formed using nine different pictures
When and how did your interest in art begin?
When I was six, my mom noticed that I doodled pretty much every day. She signed me up for weekly art classes at a nearby community centre. From there, I entered various art competitions and eventually took Art as one of my ‘O’ level subjects. I continued on this journey, pursuing Visual Communication in Temasek Polytechnic and thereafter BA (Hons) in Communication Design in HK Polytechnic University.
You have a beautiful and colorful feed. Can you briefly run through your creative process with us?
Thanks! I usually draw inspiration from song lyrics and music I listen to daily on the radio and Spotify. But sometimes the inspiration comes first, and then I try piecing together photos I already have to make them work. Other times it would stem off an individual shot I’ve taken and I’d continue taking similar shots from there before launching the series. There’s quite a fair bit of editing to be done so that they’ll look seamlessly “stitched” together. Otherwise, the thing that holds the series together would be the shapes that run through the visuals. I’ll also tweak the colours of the photos for consistency sake.
A series of scenes in two different hues
How do you plan your shots and Instagram feed/grid?
Photoshop is my go-to tool. I have the 3×3 grid template so all I have to do is to fill it up with the photos I’ve already edited using VSCO and then shift them around to see which photo fits the grids.
Instead of using just single photos to express yourself, you use nine photos in a 3×3 grid format. How did this idea come about?
When I first started curating my feed in 2014, it was just a palette of cyan/turquoise which restricted me from posting certain things. They’re usually images of nature. I had to forgo posting memorable moments with friends because the photos were difficult to tweak. As I scrolled through my feed, I realised it lacked “stories” despite branding myself as a Visual Storyteller. So in 2015, I decided to do up these series, each conforming to a certain style. This gave me more room for creativity without being confined to just one or two kinds of images.
Coming full circle
You dabble in a lot of different forms of art – water painting, sketching, photography and of course, graphic design. Is there anything else you’re thinking of exploring?
I’ve always been a fan of Chinese typography, probably because they’re a form of pictograph and I find it fascinating to break the various characters up and create something out of them. Although I’d like to continue exploring music, typography and graphics in general, they usually take up a lot of time so I’ll only do them when I’m freer.
Follow Ron on Instagram here.