Instagram: background artists Instagram: background artists

Here in London, I’ve spent a lot of time confined within four walls — first by the lockdown, then by a heatwave that threatened to melt my skin if I ventured outdoors.

With actual travel out of the question, I’ve found an outlet for my wanderlust in the vistas of Instagram’s finest background artists. The five artists featured below draw and paint with a vividness that plunges me right into their worlds, whether it’s rural Japan, the land of the Cheespiders, or the dreamscapes of an imaginary medieval Sicily.


Aaron Spurgeon is an art director of the new Looney Tunes cartoons at Warner Bros. Animation. His prior credits include Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (see the Cheespider artwork below) and the Mickey Mouse shorts.

Devin Elle Kurtz is a lead background painter on Matt Groening’s Disenchantment. Her account is a showcase for lush fan art, mostly inspired by Avatar: The Last Airbender and The Legend of Korra.

Julien De Man is a doyen of Europe’s art directors, having worked on The Bears’ Famous Invasion of Sicily, The Red Turtle, and the forthcoming Haruki Murakami adaptation Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman. The Chirico-esque cityscapes from The Bears are beguiling.

Laura Price is a background artist at Disney Television Animation, where she has worked on Tangled: The Series and Steven Universe, among other shows. Her account mixes art from those shows with personal paintings. Check her neat Youtube tutorials too.

Nizo Yamamoto is an old pro in the anime industry, where he helped define Studio Ghibli’s universe with his work on Castle in the Sky, Grave of the Fireflies, and Princess Mononoke. His account displays examples of his recent series of landscapes inspired by Japan’s rural towns.