It’s hard to recall what Instagram back-alley algorithm brought the work of Indigo Willing, actually – Dr. Indigo Willing, my way. Be it by the nebulous machinations of the Explore page, the bubbling up of relevant comments, or the constant cycle of @ing and reposting, the discovery of @werewolfcatsskating has left me delighted. I’m used to over-perusing the skate world of Instagram, hoping for a look at a new scene or sick spots, but an ongoing personal art project is a glint at the mostly unfulfilled possibility of revelation promised by the platform. You can find new shit on there. The oddly recognizable skate tricks done by cats immediately warranted a follow.
Instead of a ton of reposting viral flicks of other people skateboarding or her own daily sessions, Indigo represents her passion through skateboarding with a uniqueness talked about but seen less. Where some people have accounts dedicated to reposting their favorite photos, Indigo paints her favorite photos in vivid, playful colors and replaces the skaters with shapeshifting were-cats. This activates the passion inherent to a re-posting Instagram account in a uniquely creative way, adding to the content rather than simply rehashing it. This tells me more about Indigo’s individual and deeply personal connection to the same skateboarding that I also relate to.
Her love of classic skate photos and spots are usually the starting point for most of her paintings and, while she takes some submissions or will paint her friends, many are unknown skaters that catch her eye. This engages with her users and allows a healthy release for her spare time, When I hit her up to see if I could get one of her paintings for myself, she said she was in Australia and it was too expensive and difficult to ship right now. A few weeks later, I saw she was selling zines, which she was more willing to deal with. I’m inclined to think most zines are awesome, but it was cool to see images of her work in printed form instead of on a phone’s screen. The details were more separated, the colors and shapes more elementary, I felt an individual’s touch that is lost somewhere between the circuits and the glass of contemporary smart phones.
She told me she started skateboarding 5 years ago as an activity to do with her son but that when he left it behind she kept up at it. When an injury a little over a year ago made her unable to skate for a few months, she started painting to pass the time and it “still keeps her amused on rainy days.” Just a bit of questioning into Indigo’s involvement with skateboarding led her to mention Girls Skate Brisbane, or GSB, the girl’s skate network she co-runs with Evie Ryder and Tora Waldren, in their city of Brisbane. I can’t think of much better one-two punch: community involvement and intriguing art.