Shortly after signing the lease on my first post-college apartment, I decided it was probably time to buy some art. I’d spent the previous several years stocking up on Pinterest DIY projects—budget decor that looked appropriate (impressive, even) for a college apartment, but felt out of place in the elegant home I aspired to create.
The only problem: It was my first post-college apartment. I was broke AF.
Though I dreamt of filling my tiny Brooklyn home with the likes of Roy Lichtenstein and Edgar Degas (two of my favorite artists from high school art history class), I knew I had neither the means nor the contacts to acquire art so renowned. So, as I always did in times of home-decor-inspo need, I turned to Pinterest. And I found all kinds of artists whose work intrigued me—better yet, artists whose work I could actually afford.
Several years have passed since I first searched for art on Pinterest, and I now own two Tyler Spangler pieces—plus a handful of work from other illustrators, too.
I’m not made of money, so I typically follow artists for a long, long time on social media before committing to buying a new piece. At its worst, that habit forces me to save a few dollars when I’m even slightly on the fence about buying something; at its best, it offers my Instagram feed some delightful (and much-needed) diversification.
Here, you’ll find 23 under-the-radar artists who routinely create incredible, interesting art that usually costs a couple hundred bucks (or less!). Feel free to shop their work—or, if you just feel like window-shopping, you can always follow them on Instagram.
Alja Horvat (@aljahorvatco)
Alja Horvat's colorful, vibrant portraits are so dynamic—and let's be real, pretty—you'll want to hang them in every room of your home. My roommate and I are currently trying to settle on four to hang in our bathroom—we're just struggling to decide which four we love most.
Robin Eisenberg (@robineisenberg)
Robin Eisenberg's work feels very Rick and Morty meets BoJack Horseman meets a fantasy world full of galaxies and mermaids. It's colorful, and eerie, and fun—and it'll transport you somewhere wonderful every time you look at it.
Delaney Royer (@delaneyroyer)
Through her thoughtfully shot and edited photos, Delaney Royer renders the world a daydream. Her palette is always punchy, her textures dynamic and her doodles delightful; each photo is just as mesmerizing as the last.
Isabelle Feliu (@isabellefeliu)
The shapes in Isabelle Feliu's work are so soft you'll feel like they're melting off the page right into the palm of your hand. The way she plays with proportions is magnificent—especially in her illustrations of the human body—and her often pared-down color palettes only emphasize that.
Tyler Spangler (@tyler_spangler)
Tyler Spangler is one of my favorite artists of all time. No one juxtaposes classic photography with tongue-in-cheek illustration better than he, and his bold use of color will keep you staring at his work for hours. (Trust me, I've been there.)
Desirée Feldmann (@desiree.feldmann)
Desirée Feldmann's Pantone collages are delightfully whimsical. (And when she's not making those, she's creating equally delightful illustrations.) You know how people used to hang paint chips on their wall like art? I want to do the same, but with Feldmann's Pantone chips.
Henn Kim (@henn_kim)
Henn Kim's work is dark, engaging and almost surrealist in nature. By stripping things down to a stark black and white color palette, Kim lets the illustrations speak for themselves—women with candles for heads, couples making love in laundry machines, planetary humans and more.
Petra Eriksson (@petraerikssonstudio)
If life were illustrated, I'd want to see it through Petra Eriksson's eyes. The lines are crisp, the colors are lovely and the shapes are even lovelier.
Stephanie DeAngelis (@steph_angelis)
Stephanie DeAngelis uses lines sparingly in her work. And when she does, they're thin and simple, almost like she's mindlessly doodled them onto the page. But her careful compositions—and her ability to render the female form as fact, not fantasy—suggest her work is incredibly thoughtful (and not mindless at all).
Astrid Torres (@astridtorresg)
I've always loved collages, and Astrid Torres does them beautifully. Her work, which tends to feel structured and minimalist, focuses on women—turning their heads into gemstones, their bodies into plants and their tears into flowers. Trust me when I say I want almost everything she's made.
Ambivalently Yours (@ambivalentlyyours)
I've loved Ambivalently Yours' work for a long, long time. The pastel pink illustrations, the emotive watercolors, the portraits of all kinds of women—most of whom are smart, spunky and delightfully feminist. I can't get enough of the characters she's created, and I even see myself in a few of them (perhaps you will, too).
Sofia Bonati (@soffronia)
If you're into portraiture, I suggest you give Sofia Bonati a follow. She masterfully plays with texture, medium and pattern to create portraits that are as unique as the people she's depicting.
Sara Shakeel (@sarashakeel)
Collage isn't exclusively a tactile medium—these days, it's a digital one, too. Sara Shakeel understands this, and her work feels like a creepy-yet-beautiful Tumblr-born fantasy. (Basically a visual representation of Lana del Rey's brain.)
Florence Given (@florencegiven)
If you don't think illustrations can be outspoken, you've never encountered Florence Given's work. The women she depicts are always bold, feminist and a little intimidating-looking—an undeniable triple threat. What's better: She transfers her work to clothing and sells it in an online store, so you can wear your favorite illustrations (if merely hanging them on your wall isn't enough).
Chad Wys (@chadwys)
Chad Wys does digital and tactile work—and all of it's incredibly colorful. Whether you want to see your favorite classic photograph dripping with acrylic paint, a bust adorned with colored blocks of wood or the Mona Lisa digitally rendered and covered in colorful pixels, you're sure to find it on Wys' Instagram.
Amber Davenport (@amberstextiles)
Amber Davenport is a one-stop shop for hand-painted tropical prints. Every post of hers that pops up in your feed—be it of printed wallpaper, gift tags or low-key doodles—will surely delight you. And watching her walk through the process for her work (as she does in many of her posts) is a lot of fun, too.
Céleste Wallaert (@celeste.iii)
When looking at Céleste Wallaert's work, I not only find myself appreciating the beauty of each composition—but I also catch myself yearning for the clothes she's illustrated. Collars with embroidered eyes on them, two-tone athletic shorts, overalls covered in colorful, abstract patterns, and so on. And really, who can resist art that also serves as style inspo? (I certainly can't.)
Rebecca Flattley (@rebeccaflattleyart)
Every one of Rebecca Flattley's pieces is engaging, feminine and delightfully simple. Even when her work is at its most devastating (an arrow piercing a woman's heart), it still looks sweet and pretty and full of compassion. The best part: Every illustration comes in some shade of pink.
Willian Santiago (@willian_santiago)
Willian Santiago's prints are as beautiful as they are intriguing. His abstractions of the human form are incredibly interesting—and the way he projects scenery onto the humans he draws is even more so. I had a hard time selecting just one image to feature in this slideshow, and I encourage you to click through to see the rest of his work.
Sage Aune (@sagepizza)
If you're looking for something distinctly cheeky, fun and contemporary, Sage Aune is the artist for you. Every illustration she posts feels incredibly relatable—like the kind of thing I'd send to my friend, or wear on a T-shirt, or put on a phone case and carry with me everywhere. (Did I mention she makes merch, too?)
Bijou Karman (@bijoukarman)
Bijou Karman's illustrations are undeniably beautiful. But what really sets her apart is the fact that she does screen printing, too. It's rare to find someone who's so adept at both media, and her affinity for both—the more malleable lines of digital illustration and the bolder shapes of screen printing—shines through in the pieces she creates.
Lucie Rice (@luciericeillustration)
I've been smitten with Lucie Rice's work since I stumbled upon her Nashville illustration series a few years ago. I grew up in Nashville, and I couldn't get enough of how thoughtfully she conveyed the character of each neighborhood through her busy, yet completely uncluttered illustrations. She hasn't posted all her work on Instagram, so I highly recommend clicking through and visiting her actual site, especially (but not only!) if you're from Nashville, too.
Abbey Lossing (@abbey_lossing)
Abbey Lossing boils every image down—to a few shapes, a handful of colors and some incredibly crisp lines. Her work reminds me of Keith Haring's, but it's more detailed and feminine. Plus, the way she renders patterns on clothing is downright magnificent.