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A New Refrain From Artists: We ‘Almost Gave Up on Instagram’


SAN FRANCISCO — Deb JJ Lee built a career in illustration on Instagram, one colorful comic at a time.Some of the comics that Mx. Lee, 26, posted on the photo-sharing site told stories about fantastical worlds; others meditated on Mx. Lee’s experiences as a Korean American. Without Instagram, Mx. Lee, who uses they/them pronouns, said they would not be illustrating graphic novels and publishing picture books.But seven years, hundreds of posts and tens of thousands of followers later, Mx. Lee’s relationship with Instagram has cooled — not because they no longer need social media to promote their art, but because the app has changed so much that it seems to have stopped welcoming artists.The changes, Mx. Lee said, have “been nothing short of harmful to artists, especially those who make still images.”Instagram was founded in 2010 as a photo-sharing site where people could post, curate and showcase snapshots from their lives. It became a destination for an endless variety of b …

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