The other day, I was chatting with a friend about small childhood joys, and how we’ve carried some of them into adulthood. We went on and on about how nostalgic we were for days where we balanced our time between barefoot backyard explorations and passing massive popcorn bowls back and forth while watching animated movies.
Among our favorite memories was a daily bowl of sugary cereal, paired with the inspiring investigation of comics, mazes, and puzzles on the back of the box. Our passionate nostalgia for these cheeky boxes had propelled us into an adulthood that still values sweet cartoons and dreamy typefaces.
Today, I’ve curated a list of five Instagram accounts with playful art that might inspire memories of what we used to love on the packaging of our cherished sugary meal.
Rusty Epstein | @rusty.creates
If you have a sense of humor that leans toward the darker side, you’ll be an instant fan of Rusty Epstein’s work. His account is full of comics, poetry, and memes, all with a witty twist. He creates his own spin on the iconic aesthetic of fridge poems, with messages like, “not everything has to be an argument but go fuck yourself.” There’s a welcoming atmosphere to Epstein’s account, but his sarcastic tone will suck you in once you start reading.
Archie Budzar | @archbudzar
Arch Budzar is an Appalachian multimedia artist who concentrates on the intersection of visual art and poetry. And while they use bold lines and bright colors, each piece is entangled with vulnerability. While scrolling through Budzar’s feed, you’ll be transported into a state of childlike curiosity by the colors, themes, and characteristics. Their account has over 100,000 followers, so it’s clear that people are craving this youthful aesthetic.
James | @sunlightafterdark
James is a Canadian artist who fuses illustrated visuals and poetic musings with a wistful sensibility. The culmination of colors, words, and surrender to the most profound types of feelings work together to create gorgeous pieces. While some of the pieces feel melancholy, there’s still a positive aspect to everything. The undertones of sweetness shine through to create a feed full of contemplative art.
Zoë | @zoecainart
Zoë Cain is a queer, Korean-American artist from Los Angeles currently working as an illustrator, substitute teacher, and creative storyteller. They were selected as a finalist for Pabst Blue Ribbon’s 2022 Art Can Contest, and their clients have included New Belgium Brewing Company, LA vs. Hate, and Courtney Barnett. Cain is exceptional for striving to create art that supports educational reform, combats existing stigmas, and advocates for mental health awareness. Beyond its beautiful exploration of serious topics, the artwork itself is thoughtfully dreamy, often highlighting bold colors, handwritten typography, and charming illustrations.
Allie S. | @sketchbook_jpeg
Allie’s Instagram feed blends a range of elements to create a gorgeous cacophony of art. Nostalgic typography and retro illustrations instill a sense of enchantment in each post, and like the back of a cereal box, you’ll feel compelled to keep staring. While some posts are straightforward, others are filled with wise, helpful advice, like how to rid yourself of imposter syndrome. The posts are elevated and concise, yet wildly personal and charismatic.