InstaThis: Art From Your Instagram

By Julia Weeman in Arts & Entertainment on Apr 21, 2013 9:00PM

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Two Chicago brothers have teamed up to take your favorite Instagram photos and put them on your wall. With a background in digital printing, Nate and John Larkin linked up with a friend at local design firm Rule 29 to create InstaThis, which turns your Instagram images into acrylic or wood wall art.

"With the rapid expansion of mobile photography coupled with Instagram's social platform we saw this as the perfect time to jump in head first," Nate Larkin told Chicagoist in an email. "The average person has hundreds of images on their phones and computers, but rarely do those images become anything more than digital. Our goal is to allow our customers to create their own tangible piece of art."

Larkin gave us some insight into the process behind the work. They start with raw pieces of birch, add a beveled edge to make the print look like it's floating when it hangs on the wall, and cut a groove in the back for specialty hanging screws. Each print comes with a hanging screw and simple installation instructions, so getting your art on the wall only takes a few minutes and doesn't require a frame. Acrylic pieces are flame polished and mounted on PVC board, which again, gives it the floating look on the wall. The acrylic process "has a very high art look to them, the image appears almost 3D popping off the print," Larkin says. The team's graphic designers work their magic with your image to be sure it won't be grainy or pixelated. They then print the image using a special technique which they created. A UV flatbed printer drops ink on each print and cures it using a UV lamp to permanently integrate the ink on the wood or acrylic.

On the InstaThis website, you can connect with Instagram or upload your own photos to be made into 6, 8, 10, or 12-inch square prints. The medium naturally lends itself to grouping multiple images, and InstaThis offers discounts on multiple prints. Turnaround time is 3-5 days and prints start at $30. The wood prints offer a more painterly look, while the saturated, high gloss acrylic look is vibrant and modern. We tried it out and we're amazed by how it truly transformed a snapshot into a focal point on our wall.

Larkin told us one of his favorite parts of his job is getting to see the unique prints before they ship out.

"I am continually blown away by all the great photography that is coming off of peoples' cell phones," he says. "It is a new form of photography that is here to stay and we are honored to have the opportunity to turn these shots into physical pieces of art."