The 90s Art School Instagram Is A Fascinating Time Capsule Of Pre-Internet Fun

90s Art School is a new Instagram archive created by Matthew Atkatz. The 46-year-old creative director found a shoebox full of grimy old photographs from his college days at the Rhode Island School of Design. Here is how he describes the project on his profile:

90s Art School is a participatory project that celebrates photos taken by young artists at the end of the 20th century.

These images have languished in shoeboxes for the past twenty years and are entering the social sphere for the first time.

Seen through the eyes of emerging artists who were in the process of finding and defining themselves as individuals – and as artists – the images are a window into an entire generation of young creators as a collective group. .

Before fame or fortune, failure or success, and in some cases their untimely death.

90s Art School captures candid and personal moments from a more carefree time before smartphones and social media.

If you were there, you’ll remember, and if you weren’t, I’m sorry because the 90s were amazing.

Or, as The New York Times Briefly summarizes the project:

Featuring art students attuned to the aesthetic, the stream is an array of Gen X fashion signifiers: flannel shirts, black eyeliner, bleached blonde hair, cropped tops and baggy jeans. “There were goths and hippies and kids who were into ska or straight edge,” said Mr. Atkatz, who now runs an ad agency in Miami with his wife, Liz Marks. “When we went to a show, we were watching the band rather than a screen,” he said. “There were more demarcated tribes in the 90s. In some ways, I feel like social media has homogenized the culture.”

The paradox, of course, is that this visual rumination on the pre-Instagram era is only possible thanks to Instagram. “It was as if we had spent a decade of energy on images that no one had seen,” Mr. Atkatz said. “I was interested in trying to create joy using this latent energy.”

The account is restricted to users 16 and older, so I cannot post any of the images here. If this sounds like the kind of thing you’d be into – and I suspect the images will resonate with a lot of BoingBoing readers – I recommend hitting up Instagram and following 90s Art School.

Kayleen C. Rice