Interview with an Artist – Creativity and Community on Instagram


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The rooftops of Paris, as seen on our Instagram page

Some may say that the internet has made humans more secluded from one another, less likely to be involved in communities, and generally more reclusive. This may be the case for some individuals, since the internet certainly caters to the introvert. However, there are an equally abundant number of ways to create new avenues of social interaction through the world-wide web. One of those avenues that we’ve been exploring is Instagram.

Everyday on our Instagram profile, we share beautiful scenes of Paris with the world. Whether it be a picturesque view of Pont Neuf or helpful recommendations for where to enjoy a cup of tea, we’ve created a little community. People from all around the world can join together in their mutual love of Paris, a city of light, love, and beauty.

A couple months ago, we shared a colorful image of café tables and chairs, but we didn’t expect what happened shortly afterwards. Jeanne McKay Hartmann, a fellow Instgrammer, artist and blogger, re-interpreted our image in the form of a beautiful water-color painting! We never thought we’d be able to inspire people’s creativity and Parisian dreams so directly, and even open the door to personal connections. We asked Jeanne a few questions about Paris, creating art, and the potential for forming communities online.

Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Colorful café tables from the Paris Perfect Instagram page alongside Jeanne’s beautiful interpretation!

By Jeanne McKay Hartmann

Paris Perfect: What do you love about Paris?

Jeanne: It’s a question I’ve been asking myself for the 15-plus years since I first visited… Is it the beauty of the architecture, the humanness of its scale, the green spaces, all the glorious little details, the contrasts, or the history? It crossed my mind on our last visit that, in Paris, time moves differently for me than anywhere else, and if it’s possible, it moves both faster and slower all at once. Things speed up when I am trying to take it all in: experiencing all the cultural activities, new shops and restaurants and old favorites (you can never, ever do it all). But time slows unexpectedly too: when I sink into a garden chair at the Jardin du Luxembourg or on a café terrace to relax, watch the world go by, and just be. There is no other place like Paris for this.

PP: What are your favorite subjects to sketch/paint in Paris?

J: One of my favorite things to sketch and paint are the chairs – the ones in the gardens, grouped as if in conversation, the sidewalk variety, the Louis-this and Louis-that spotted everywhere from small museums to the Marché aux Puces – I’m obsessed. Flowers, too, always catch my eye and inspire.

PP: Share your thoughts on online-based communities.

J: When I last visited, one of the highlights was connecting with people I had met either through my blog or through Instagram. These virtual conversations we carry on every day can hold so much creative inspiration. There really is nothing like it.

Paris Perfect and Jeanne Hartmann

Snapshot from the Musée Nissim de Camondo and Jeanne’s watercolor version!

If you’d like to join in on the fun, find us on Instagram at ParisPerfectRentals.

While you’re there, follow Jeanne @jeannemckayhartmann. She also has a blog called I Dream of… where she shares lots more of her artwork and photography.

(image credits: Paris Perfect and Jeanne Hartmann)


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