Today we greet Cally-Jo to our Instagram Influencers Interview column. Cally is a British-born NYC-based Tattoo artist with an incredible talent and success on Instagram. Find out more about @callyjoart and her full interview just below.
Describe your Instagram profile, what you post and why.
My instagram is mainly to promote my artwork and my tattooing, I mainly post pictures of the drawings that I’m working on or tattoos that I’m doing on clients. I try not to make all of my posts just about work and I mix it up a little and post pictures of things happening in my life and the occasional picture of myself as I think it’s important for people to put a face to the work – it makes it more personal and my followers connect with me more.
When did you start your Instagram experience?
I joined instagram in early 2011, not too long after it launched. I stumbled across the app while I was travelling through Africa with some friends and initially I just thought it was a fun app to put filters on your pictures, I had no idea it was a social media tool! At the time I joined, there were next to no artists or tattoo artists on the app- not that I could find anyway, so I think I was lucky to get a head start.
Did you start with the purpose to make it a job or did it start as a passion that then became a job?
I started to use the app to take fun pictures of my artwork, I hadn’t started tattooing at this point and during my apprenticeship I was drawing non-stop every day so I would just post my art and put fun filters on the pictures. It was only when I started to gain a big following that I really realized the potential of instagram and how much it could help me with gaining more business.
How long did it take to you to make your first 10,000 followers?
When instagram first launched not a lot of people knew about it, I remember at the time being one of very few artists who used to to post mostly art so there wasn’t a lot of competition, getting 10,000 followers wasn’t too difficult I think it probably took a few months at most.
What camera/phone do you use to take your pictures?
I have an Iphone 6 now which for me is perfect for taking pictures, I’d definitely recommend it, I think the Iphone 6s has a slightly better camera but I haven’t tried one out yet so I can’t say!
Do you use filters on a regular basis?
I used to use a lot of filters on my pictures, I remember the ‘Valencia’ filter being one of my top three, now I try to do as little filtering or editing as possible, I might use the brightening or contrast tools to sharpen my pictures a little but that’s it, I think the clearer the image the better for the viewers.
Do you cultivate your Social Media presence in other Networks?
Instagram is definitely my main social media tool, I recently made a facebook page for my art but I get busy and I tend to forget to use it! I have a twitter account too but again I just don’t seem to have the time to use all three it gets too much! I’d like to have a youtube channel to post videos of me working on drawings but for now I’m just trying to focus on working.
What is the post that you published that you like the most or that you are most proud of?
I would probably say my first magazine cover, I’ve been reading tattoo magazines for as long as I can remember and to walk into a store and see myself of the cover of ‘Things & Ink’ magazine well that was a hugely proud moment for me.
10. Have you ever collaborated with other influencers?
No I really haven’t had the chance to meet up with any other influencers, I’ve worked with tons of brands who I’ve worked with on posts and campaigns and I’ve definitely made a lot of connections with other artists on instagram but I think it’d be great if instagram held more events for influencers to connect with one another.
What kind of people do you follow on Instagram?
I’m pretty fussy with who I follow haha! I really only follow artists and tattoo artists, that’s really all I’m interested in seeing on my feed for inspiration, other than that I follow a few friends and the only celebrities I follow are the ones I’ve tattooed.
Is there an Instagram Influencer/celebrity in particular that you appreciate particularly and that you would like to mention?
I really only follow people who inspire me and my art and there really are so many artists who I just adore, some of my top few include James Jean (@jamesjeanart) who is my absolute favorite fine artist Chuey Quintanar (@chueyquintanar) a dear friend and incredibly talented tattoo artist, and The Great Frog (@thegreatfrogldn @thegreatfrognyc) where I get all of my jewellery from I rarely wear anything that isn’t made by them! These guys all inspire my style my brand and my artwork.
Have you ever worked with international brands that published a sponsored post in your Instagram feed?
I’ve worked with a few different brands, last year I did two campaigns for HTC phones, one for the MOBO Awards in the UK and one in colaboration with supermodel Jourdan Dunn. These were great events they were good for exposure for me and a chance to get my name in a lot of top newspapers. At the moment I’m working on an amazing project with Kenco coffee for their ‘coffee vs gangs’ campaign which I can’t say too much about but I’m very excited for the launch this June, keep your eyes peeled!
How often do you publish sponsored posts commissioned by brands?
This isn’t something I take lightly, I get a lot of requests from companies and brands asking me to post for them, whether it be in exchange for products or for a fee. I don’t want to bombard my followers with posts that won’t interest them, I only post about products I genuinely like and genuinely believe in, people aren’t stupid and I think they can tell when you’re being real and when you’re not.
Do you mainly work directly with brands or through agencies?
I’ve worked with brands directly as well as through PR companies, I definitely prefer to work directly with the brand, it’s just easier to cut out the middle man and saves time more than anything. I think I feel a lot safer working directly with a brand, sometimes pr companies can be pushy or tell little white lies to sway things the way they want them to go, I think it’s nice just to communicate with a person directly.
Have you ever accepted to publish a sponsored post for a brand without being paid?
Usually the only circumstance in which I’ll do this is if the brand is offering me a product that I really really love or a decent amount of products. I try to keep my instagram as personal to me as possible and not cram it full of product placement, I suppose it really depends, I think that women who have pages that are mostly for blogging or fashion have a different audience to say, an artist like myself, so perhaps their followers are a little more open to product posting.
Have you ever bought followers or likes?
No but I do remember a while ago I read about a rapper purchasing 90% of his followers and when instagram did some kind of update he lost them all! I think it’ nice to gain a following through hard work.
What would you suggest to someone who want to be an Instagram Influencer?
I think there are a few key things to making a successful page, clear, insteresing photography, precence ie. Posting about yourself and interacting with your audience, and perhaps sticking to one genre and keeping things consistent, for example- art and tattooing, fashion and blogging, travel and photography etc.
A personal message from Cally-Jo
Blocking people is sort of my guilty pleasure…. I probably block at least one person a day haha! Since social media is open to anyone, and people are able to keep private profiles, I get flooded with hateful pointless comments from trolls and I take great pleasure in blocking the people writing them!!
Popular Chips’ favorite pictures from @callyjoart’s Instagram account
Many thanks Cally-Jo and good luck!