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Sophie Steiner Shows Us What Millennial Life Behind the Screen Is Like
Why not having lunch with Michelangelo?
Feature 22 Apr 2020

Sophie Steiner / Berlin, Germany / Artists/ Art historian & gender studies student

Sophie`s ongoing project “Behind The Surface” became a social media sensation and aims to show what social media really means for most of us, and the impact of beauty standards on our mental health.

“The central topic I explore is about what it feels like to grow up as a 20- something – year old girl in the age of digitalization and political changes. I think we should talk more about the normal and real things that happen to us in our daily life. We need more honest conversations about issues that really concern us, even if they are perceived as unpleasant by society. On Instagram and Co. we mostly only see the extraordinary and so seemingly perfect life of people we mostly do not know in person. While we chill at home on a Friday night with a big pack of Doritos and Netflix, we are informed by Instagram that, at the same moment, the girl with the 100k followers and the perfect body seems to be having a lot of fun at a super cool party. We are always under pressure to get more followers, a cool profile, and as many likes as possible. We constantly compare ourselves with others and try to be just as cool and beautiful, or even cooler and more beautiful. It makes you fucking crazy! My pictures aim to show what the life of an adolescent girl and young woman behind the iPhone screen really is like, and with which things a girl/ young woman has to deal with. They are supposed to show the other side of this digital social media worlds.”

1. In the art world you currently find most exciting that…
the community with young, female & LGBTI* artists/curators, etc. in the art world is growing. people who are marginalized for a long time have finally a voice, and better possibilities to make it in the art world. there is a bigger awareness of women and nonbinary people in art in history who have been „forgotten“ and undiscovered for a long time (Bauhaus women, Angelika Kauffmann) not only the art world itself has changed, but also the perspective on it: awareness of female gaze on the art world. I have the feeling the art world has become more colorful. Regarding this development the art world has become more democratic and social media plays a major role: it makes it easier for unknown artists to reach people, get attention, or ideally sell artworks. Also for me, Instagram is a platform where I curate my art.

You don’t have to go outside to visit an exhibition, just scroll through your Instagram feed and you find so much inspiration. (although right now I would love to go outside to visit a museum and gallery) I follow many great young artists, who create art from their bedroom and give us through social media insight in their everyday life. Regarding this, the artist has become more approachable and is an active exchange with their community.

But with social media there comes also much more pressure: Your whole person is the artwork in itself. it’s not enough to just create art. you also have to have a special personality, message, and an active Instagram account were in my „feeling“ you have to constantly post something, to not loose any followers. communicate with your followers never before has there been such a wide range of media with which one can make art. (Photoshop, digital painting, rendering, traditional medium) you don’t have to limit yourself to one, you can use them all! nevertheless, sometimes it’s overwhelming how much possibilities you have to be creative and it’s hard to decide with which medium you start with. In general, the area that counts as art has expanded and the boundaries are blurring more and more.

2. Number of unanswered mails in your account today…

honestly, I don`t even know which day today is…

3. Perfect outfit to create/perfect outfit to sell art…
I love to wear outfits that are stylish and comfortable at the same time. So my favorite outfit to wear is probably a Prada nylon bag, Nike tracksuit & shoxx, golden hoops and a looooot of my rings of course. But because during quarantine IЂm every day in my tracksuit IЂm looking forward to wearing finally something again which is not that casual. If we all can hopefully go out to some „important“ art event I guess my outfit choice after the crisis would be wearing things that make me feel sexy & good in my skin like a Dior leopard bag, blue bootcut jeans, white corset, Nike airforce (and loot of rings and golden whoops of course )

4. Your everyday online art read is…
monopol Magazin, DAZED Beauty, Juxtapose magazine, Artreview, and of course. TheArtGorgeous favourite online art read for women in art. Also social media:
I follow many talented artists on Instagram therefore I often scroll through my Instagram feed to find new inspiration. nevertheless, IЂd prefer to browse around for new books in my favorite bookshops in Berlin. I love to discover new treasures like magazines & books which I didn’t know before (hope everything is soon over and I can do it asap)

5. Most ridiculous thing you ever bought…

hmmm hard to give you one example… i buy soo many ridiculelous things especially If they are shiny and glittery or things that are actual for children. (like myponys, barbies, fake money, etc.) Suprisingly it turns out everytime that they have always a reason or are useful in a way i didn’t think of before like for creating new art or to decorate my apartment. If I like what I see doesn’t matter for which age class it was actually planned for I buy it. But If I should name one it would probably be fake 500 banknotes. I bought these 4 years ago and did create artwork with them. ironically I pasted the notes on toilet paper, so it looked like the toilet paper consisted of 500 notes. If we place this “piece of art” in the current crisis it is super weird and describes perfectly the “HamsterkКufe” (stock purchases) of toilet paper here in Germany. You see in the end everything has a reason (lol)

6. After a bad day in the art world, you need…
have good drink with Ђmy friends in my favourite bar around the corner, or If it was super bad and exhausting I just treating myself with ordering at my favourite food place, watching GIRLS a series which always improve my mood, and have a glass of wine. ALWAYS works.

7. On your office table / in your studio you always have…
way too much stuff. I really should clean up ….

8. Favourite art x brand collaboration…
Hajime Sorayama x Dior

You first post on Instagram…
i would rather not tell you that, kinda embarrassing..
If you hurry go to my insta and find it out, before I delete it …

10. Favourite hashtag…
I don’t use hashtags

11. Your art world girl crush…
There are soo many it’s quite hard to name just one …in general I’m not such a big fan of oil painting i rather love to watch digital artworks/ paintings but currntly I’m totally into the oil paintings of multimedia artis Chloe wise: I love the way she uses traditional means to represents current socio-critical themes like the interweaving of consumption and image making. Her works matches so well with our Zeitgeist trifft and represents our generation in such a Accuracy. everytime i SEE the people her paintings I’m so surprised and think: Oh that could be also a friend of mine.

I’m also a big fan of the works of john yuyi, chloe wise, signe pierce, Isamaya french…..As I mentioned above I also love to discover new Artist on social media, like Instagram.

12. Describe yourself with three emojis…
mermaid emoji, selfie/smartphone emoji, and the girl who pulls up her shoulders

13. Art boy I would love to have lunch with…
I’d prefer to have lunch with my girl squad but if I had to choose on it would probably be Michelangelo.

14. Favourite new artist discovery…
@ram_han & make up artist @abbiechuelaa

15. #artworldgoals?
social change still more more girls, more non binary & LGBTI* People in the artworld because we have to be aware of the fact that it’s still a male dominated field and we still live in a patriarchal society, so things just not change over night. We have to continue to work on that to make not only the art world but also the whole world more colourful & free.

Instagram: @sophie_stoner


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