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Arts & Culture

5 San Diego Artists To Follow On Instagram Right Now

San Diego visual artist Mary Jhun is pictured with her mural in City Heights in 2019.
Mary Jhun
San Diego visual artist Mary Jhun is pictured with her mural in City Heights in 2019.

Find inspiration and a little how-to in the feeds of these local artists and musicians

Even under the best of circumstances — we're talking a Friday night spent popping into a jam-packed art opening then sneaking out early to soak up some live music or a dance performance — it feels impossible to show up for every single drop of art and culture in San Diego. There aren't enough hours in the day (and there definitely aren't enough pandemic-free Friday nights) and some art is a little more off-the-beaten-path and harder to find. But a lot of creative San Diegans have been sharing their work on Instagram for a while, and now that it seems like the platform has become virtual culture's main street, the artists have stepped up their game. If you're new to Instagram, or maybe if you're just looking for more ways to interact with San Diego artists, here are a few cultural movers and shakers to follow.

Visual Art: Mary Jhun


Mary Jhun is prolific — she posts every day or two — and she's also stepped up to the unique needs of pandemic social media art consumption, posting plenty of art but also some behind-the-scenes looks into her studio, mesmerizing animations and opportunities for us to purchase work. She serves up regular flash sales in her stories, as well as offers small items like sticker packs for $5. Jhun's work evokes the subconsciousness; many of her pieces feature a female face in profile surrounded by images, sketched objects, color — the "weight of memory," as her series title suggests.


Music: Shelbi Bennett


Shelbi Bennett — of the Midnight Pine, Baby Bushka and The Havnauts (that is, the happiest punk band I've ever met) — was one of the first musicians I saw use the Acapella app to record her own multi-part harmonies when she tackled the quintessential, existential Fleet Foxes track "Helplessness Blues." She's since serenaded her followers to The Beatles, King Crimson, Spiritualized, Sylvan Esso, The Mamas and the Papas, Tegan and Sara — as well as supported the launch of Baby Bushka's new album, a new Havnauts video and an entire Midnight Pine live album with special clips and features, each of which happened during quarantine. Phew, I feel accomplished just following her.

Visual Art / Comics / Dance: Rodney Anderson



Rodney Anderson's feed is full of joy. The comic book artist, illustrator, teacher and dancer serves up regular work-in-progress sliders, clips from his Zoom workshops for kids and the occasional dancing break — all with an infectious (no pun intended) energy. Anderson teaches at A Reason To Survive (ARTS) and has also taught at Kalabash School of Music and Art, and he writes and draws the black fantasy comic "Trinity Blade." Get some inspiration, a little bit of DIY instruction, and the occasional orc and forbidden forest.

Classical Music: Chris Smith, Trumpet


Another master of the split-screen, self-harmonizing videos, the San Diego Symphony's principal trumpet, Chris Smith posts regular videos of his performances, many of which in black and white, recorded in a spooky yet aesthetically pleasing, abandoned, underground garage. Check out his trumpet self-duet take on Brahms Canons for Female Voices as well as recordings of a bunch of striking etudes and even "Take Me out to the Ball Game." Who knew trumpet could be so lovely and 'grammable?

Sculpture: Roman de Salvo


Roman De Salvo's sculpture and large-scale public art installation work is undeniably inspired by nature, and the artist's Instagram page is basically an architectural tour of the lights, lines and forms found in San Diego's wild spaces, particularly where they intersect with human influence. Railways, arches, signs, and — every so often — De Salvo's own creations. Fall in love with San Diego's own backdrops as well as De Salvo's sculptures.