Plants on Pink: An Instagram Community
Amber Creswell Bell
| June 20, 2016
Once upon a time the humble ‘pound’ or ‘hash’ key was just a symbol on our telephone keypads with fairly non-distinct uses along with his mate, the star key. But now, in these social-media driven times, the hash key might just be one of the most used keys of all – rebirthed as the captain of the ubiquitous hashtag. In effect, the hash is now the key to the virtual universe, unlocking information, driving searches, and defining the zeitgeist by showcasing what is trending amongst users of Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
As hashtagging becomes the norm, and we continue to find new ways to categorise and define our information and image sharing ways, the hashtag has enabled subsets of users with similar interests to find each other. These subsets – particularly as far as Instagram is concerned – have harnessed the power of the hashtag to co-curate galleries, contributing images as kindred spirits, to be part of something bigger than their own feeds. They have created communities.
One such community that has taken the Insta-world by storm is #PlantsOnPink. This aesthetically driven online gallery has many thousands of images contributed by global community of cult users – all keen to share instances where plants and pink have come together in striking ways. One lady – Lotte van Baalen – who first used the hashtag started it all. It seemed to strike a nerve online, and became so popular she created the accompanying account @PlantsOnPink which has since amassed a cult following of 38,000 and counting, attracting dozens of submissions a day to be a part of the brand’s online voice.
I have a virtual chat with Lotte to find out how it all came about….
Tell us briefly about yourself: Where do you live? What do you do for a living?
I’m Lotte, 28 from Utrecht in the Netherlands. Born as the daughter of two artists I was destined to create. I went to art school to study visual arts and got my bachelor in children studies. I work with children and I coach people who work with children but most of all, I’m here to create. And that is what I do through @PlantsOnPink, together with 38,000 other plants lovers from around the world.
How did @PlantsOnPink come to be? What was the initial inspiration that spurred it all?
I was always been inspired by colours and combinations. I was going to a very pink and green phase and I believe that where attention goes, energy flows so suddenly I saw green and pink everywhere.
One day I rode my bike past a pink wall with some green in front of it when it hit me: PlantsOnPink!
When you started the now ubiquitous hashtag #plantsonpink and affiliated Instagram account @PlantsOnPink 12 months ago, you probably didn’t intend to become an ‘online influencer’ with 38K+ followers. What were you intending when you started out?
That’s right. I never thought it would explode so rapidly. I knew of course, that I was on to something good and saw that it was aesthetically pleasing but it never even crossed my mind to become so big. I started @PlantsOnPink just because I loved it so much, it seemed like so much fun and I felt an uncontrollable urge to share it with the world. And so I did!
Who are the ‘Plants on Pink’ community? Where do they come from? Why do you think it has captured the imaginations of so many? Do you have a favourite image?
The @PlantsOnPink community is very diverse, we come from all around the world. Africa, USA, Australia, Europe, Asia, South America.
I think it speaks to so many because plants make people happy, and the combination with pink makes it magical, serene and irresistible.
So, are you more about plants, or pink?
I think the two compliment each other so nicely, what makes it extremely hard to pick one! It’s like having a great outfit and having to choose between the top and the trousers when it’s all about the way you combine it.
Have you always been a plant person, or is it the particular juxtaposition with pink that drives your green thumb?
I’ve always loved plants, but not more than someone else who’s fond of nature. It was never a particular passion, or that anybody knew me for my love for plants. That was all born with @PlantsOnPink.
What is your plant of choice?
Today it’s my calathea plant. But I really love a monstera and cacti as well. Depends on my mood I guess!
You are an artist. What were you working on before you awakened the Plants on Pink movement? Has it become a full-time undertaking? What opportunities has it brought you?
I have always been visually oriented and I have a great collection – both on- as offline- of images, artwork, fabrics, patterns, stories, and certain atmospheres that inspire me. It’s just the way I look at the world everyday. I always see great photo opportunities, lines, colours, and have a very fast and associative spirit. It’s in my bones. It’s not a ful-ltime undertaking yet. In May this year I had an exhibition as part of NYCxDESIGN (New York Design Week), which was by far the most cool thing that @PlantsOnPink has brought me.
What’s next for Plants on Pink?
It was great to work with such a cool company on an enormous interactive installation. Together we created a huge 5 x 2.5m interactive installation for people to create their own @PlantsOnPink. Working on some very exciting new projects. Cannot share anything just yet!
All images courtesy of Lotte van Baalen / @PlantsOnPink.