Through the Lens: Tappan

Tappan, the digital platform designed to connect aspiring collectors with up-and-coming artists of all mediums, makes everything look easy, but their success was hardly an accident. The company self-funded the 2012 launch with no outside investments and spread their message through a savvy social media strategy. (And for context, that’s the same year Instagram reached the 100m user mark, and joined Facebook.) Last year, founder Chelsea Neman Nassib, an artist herself, told us why she considers Instagram a “treasure hunt”. Before she shares her list for this year, some truths and tips we picked up from Chelsea’s all-star team that we’re calling Through the Lens.

1. Spread the Love Instead of simply suggesting followers “click the link in bio,” Tappan teases their long-form artist profiles on Instagram, giving followers more context.

2. Read the News
When it’s applicable, Chelsea’s team lets you know Tappan’s stance on things, like the Women’s March.

3. Find New Answers to Old Questions
Potential buyers can connect with the Tappan team over Instagram DM on everything from provenance to purchasing and even payment.

4. Be a Good Neighbor
Tappan knows one of the secrets to trustworthy and genuine social interaction is to support others, too.

5. Hide—Don’t Hate—The Hashtag.
They still work. Case in point.

6. This Is the Sharing Economy.
It’s no longer a legal liability to post someone else’s images. In fact, sharing inspirations and the “just because we love it” stuff humanizes a brand, and it strengthens ties.

Now, for the five artists on Chelsea’s radar…


Jonni Cheatwood’s mixed media works push our understanding of “painting” as a medium, emphasizing his process through and through. Cheatwood’s work is vibrant, filled with voluptuous, static forms contrasted by energetic bursts of gestural mark-making. These forms seemingly sit three-dimensionally on top of canvas that has been stitched together by the artist. Drop cloth, canvas, burlap, and textile pieces with previous lives are imbedded into the base of his work.
Cheatwood is certainly an artist to keep your eye on in 2017. He wants the viewer to be as involved with the painting as he is, he wants you to feel it palpitate. That’s what makes these new paintings so special, they really are alive.

Chelsea’s pick: SUPERBOWL

Followers: 5,626

A photo posted by @ideih on


Caroline Denervaud’s work is developed around an exploration of the body through painting, drawing, collage, and video performance. When you watch her interact with form, she explores the physical limits of the body through gesture and form building, only allowing mark-making where her body reaches on the paper. Denervaud is definitely someone to watch in the new year. She’s particularly unique because of her close relationship to her work, literally pressing her body to her paintings, keeping viewers from associating one without the other. Her body is absolutely intrinsic to her two-dimensional work, and that’s really special.

Chelsea’s Pick: Untitled

Followers: 18.1k

A photo posted by Brian Merriam (@brianhmerriam) on


Brian Merriam has an eye for introspection and nostalgia. Shooting primarily desolate landscapes, Merriam travels year-long, traversing desolate lands such as Iceland, Alaska, and Death Valley, to name a few. His eye captures magical moments, bringing a sense of calmness, reflection, and longing to natural landscapes. Keep an eye on Merriam’s forthcoming series in 2017, as he’ll be debuting a series of dream-like images that he has been developing over the past few years.

Chelsea’s Picks: Alaska

Followers: 3,306

A photo posted by Struan Teague (@struan_teague) on


Working between Dusseldorf and Copenhagen, Struan Teague’s abstract paintings and screen prints expose the role of intuition in the creation process. Teague’s use of instantaneous processes and materials, like screen print, spray paint, even dirt and spillage – force quicker and more irrevocable decisions to be made, resulting in intuition taking a crucial role in his process.

With Teague’s paintings, less is more, and you find yourself studying every mark and gesture. Ultimately, Teague’s paintings ask us to slow down and really consider the entirety of ‘composition.’ This approach is refreshing in this age, asking us to reconsider the entire work of art, as something made up of many parts.

Chelsea’s Pick: Untitled

Followers: 4,143


Detroit-based artist Kelsey Shultis revisits highly textured oil painting in an entirely unique manner. Incorporating objects and environments familiar to us, Shultis abstracts these, simplifying colors and exaggerating with thick impasto. Her work straddles between both a nostalgia for places and objects, and a study of appreciating oil painting today. Her works are both humorous and heavy, melancholic and playful. Shultis is definitely one to watch in the upcoming year.

Chelsea’s Pick: Scottyland

Followers: 453


One of the most design-y houseware accessories comes from Home Depot: the ever-grammable rubber plant