Jon Burgerman's Famous Friends examines our celeb obsessed culture

26 August 2015

Jon Burgerman’s Jon’s Famous Friends is one of those lighthearted, funny yet insightful projects that’s hard to resist. Different to his usual paintings and character work, the artist has been creating simple collages on his iPhone 4 where he superimposes himself seemingly interacting with a famous face. We see Jon licking Cara Delevingne’s forehead, ruffling Justin Bieber’s hair seductively and chilling out with Taylor Swift on a bench. “I was playing around with my decrepit iPhone and noticed Instagram had a new function where you could show two or more images together in a grid. It turns out this is perfect for collaging – no scissors or glue!” Jon explains.

By scrolling through Instagram’s infinite feed, Jon felt he was “experiencing all these little square windows into people’s lives who I don’t know. I wondered if I could ‘Zelig’ myself into their images and become a part of their world.” But the project goes beyond this notion of celebrity and mimicry, by questioning the way us regular folk curate our lives towards perfection. “I want to explore how we create public narratives for ourselves, and taking it to an extreme, absurdist level. I’m cranking up the FOMO, envy and anxiety,” Jon says.

“I’m also trying to show that in most cases these things are actually pretty mundane. So I’m ‘hanging out’ with celebrities, but we’re not doing anything that fascinating (apart from shooting up with Obama of course). Celebrities’ Instagram feeds are often littered with multiple selfies and photos of their cats. They’re just as dull as us normal people!”

Using only Instagram tools to create his images, for now, that’s where Jon sees his work staying. “I’m going down the Richard Prince route of re-appropriating users Instagram posts but putting them back out onto Instagram. If the opportunity arose maybe I’d like to exhibit them but at the moment it makes perfect sense that they only live on that platform.”

Share Article

About the Author

Rebecca Fulleylove

Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.

It's Nice That Newsletters

Fancy a bit of It's Nice That in your inbox? Sign up to our newsletters and we'll keep you in the loop with everything good going on in the creative world.