Jordan "Watts" Watson has good taste.
Like, really good taste.
Just scroll through his Instagram feed to get an idea. Watts, whose handle @love.watts is more recognizable than his actual name, has built a dedicated following as Instagram's premier art curator.
Watts is part of a new generation of Instagrammers — you won't find any selfies or party pics in his feed. Instead, he posts images and tags artists whose work he appreciates, for one reason or another. He now has more than 82,000 followers who use his feed as a tool to discover new art.
Watts' curatorial approach makes his feed particularly unique. He sifts through hundreds of daily submissions from artists who are both well-known and relatively undiscovered.
Take Adam Niklewicz, for example; a critically acclaimed Polish-born sculptor. Watts recently posted this sculpture:
If you're still not convinced about Watts's status as a tastemaker: prior to developing his unique brand of social media fame, Watts managed Theophilus London, the out-of-the-box rapper who just released a new album produced by Kanye West, and counts ultimate insiders Karl Lagerfeld and Cara Delevingne as fans and collaborators.
So yes, Watts knows what — or who — is coming up next.
"I used to do the thing where I'd post pictures of myself doing cool stuff," Watts told Fusion. "Then one day I just started posting images of different textures I liked — glitter, sand, gravel. People were more receptive to those images than something like a photo of myself on a beach in Sydney."
If Instagram's interest in abstract textures and art seems surprising, consider this: even the most elite figures in the art world are beginning to recognize its power to spread artistic ideas and promote emerging artists. Just look at the Instagram accounts of Hans Ulrich Obrist, co-director at London's Serpentine Galleries and Klaus Biesenbach, Chief Curator at New York's The Museum of Modern Art.
When Watts posts work from a particular artist, the results are felt immediately. He's heard from several emerging artists that their sales have gone up and their number of followers has increased dramatically following a @love.watts post.
Justin Hagar, for instance, is one of Watts' personal favorites.
"Justin just hit me up saying, 'Thanks so much, man, whenever you do a post, I sell so many more prints,'" Watts said. "Then sometimes the artists send me stuff in return. So I have a little collection going."
Watts has leveraged his good taste to create opportunities outside of Instagram. He's been curating spaces ranging from nightclubs to peoples' apartments to an auction with actress Rose McGowan.
"The artists tell me all the time: I have more followers than most established galleries. It's really powerful," he said. "I created a gallery where anyone with a phone can see your work and become a fan. It's a world gallery."
And just in time for Art Basel Miami Beach, here are a few of Watts' favorites to follow:
Alexandra DiPalma is a producer for Fusion Lightworks, Fusion’s In-house Branded Content Agency.