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Who:Matt Crump
What: Blurb Book, "PINK", Instagram Photography, Promoting Tolerance
Where: We couldn't meet Matt in person, so we interviewed him over email. In the spirit of Coffee with Collaborators, we sent him a gift card to Jo's Coffee in Austin, TX, so he can enjoy a cup on us!
Occupation: Photographer + Artist

Matt Crump (@mattcrump & @candyminimal) is a TIME-recognized Instagram artist who's dreamlike, minimalistic shots are filled with color and life. His digital art movement, hailed by his dedicated following of 250K+ is branded by his unique #candyminimal style. We chatted with Matt about printing his first book, using Instagram as a tool for promoting equality and becoming better by creating more.

Q: You recently collaborated with Collectively and blurb on a beautiful book, "Pink." What was the inspiration for the book? why Pink?
I knew I wanted to have a theme, but not something so specific that it would leave out any of my favorite subjects (like theme parks, palm trees, still life, etc.), so I decided to just use my favorite color which would give me the creative freedom to include anything I wanted, as long as it contained the color pink.

Q: How does it feel to see your work printed in a book?
The tactile experience of seeing my work printed in a book is much different than scrolling through my Instagram gallery. Since the pictures are larger and have more clarity, I can get lost in the photos much more easily than I can when looking at them on a tiny smartphone screen.

Q:When did you first begin taking pictures and when did you realize that photography was a calling, and a profession, for you?
I started taking pictures when I downloaded Instagram 5 years ago. At first, it was just for fun, to share moments with my friends. There wasn't anything artistic about my feed in the beginning. Over time, I discovered artists on the app that inspired me, and that's when I started experimenting with my photos. When my visual experiments started getting recognized, I started getting more serious about it. Then, I left my job in advertising to focus full time on my newfound passion for photography and started the hashtag #candyminimal, which became a trend on Instagram and ultimately gave my work a lot of momentum.

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Q: What is your favorite thing about photography?
My favorite thing about photography is reproducing a scene the way you envisioned it in your head, kind of like a painter sees the world and translates it to canvas. I think of my photos like paintings in that way, because I don't see the world the way it exists in reality.

Q: Do you have a favorite photo that you've taken?
My favorite photo was one I shot in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. It's of a wandering woman surrounded by colorful buildings with a statue of a saint in a chapel in the background, seemingly watching her.

Q: Your Instagram feed is incredible. When did you begin posting your photos to the platform?
I began posting shortly after the app was released to keep up with friends. Since then, my style has evolved, to say the least!

Q: Did you know from the beginning what you wanted your Instagram aesthetic to look and feel like?
No. I didn't know I wanted to be a photographer in the beginning. I've always been creative, but I never "got" cameras. It was only after that my iPhone shots took off that I learned how to use a DSLR. Before that, it took a lot of experimentation with different styles before I settled on #candyminimal. It was an exploratory process, figuring out techniques, colors, and compositions.

Q: What goes on behind the scenes of managing your Instagram account?
Lots of scrolling through my camera roll, seeing what shots I have to edit! I don't plan out my feed too much. Every shot I post, I've edited that day. My strategy is just to push as much content out as I can each day, which helps me get better and keep refining. The more I create, the better I become, hopefully.

Q: You've become an Instagram sensation, recognized by TIME Magazine as one of the top 50 photographers on Instagram. With such influence, comes a powerful platform to support and share ideas - whether social, political or cultural. With this in mind, do you have a goal or mission in regard to your artwork?
My mission is to promote tolerance. I've showcased the cultures in Lebanon and Israel. I've created many rainbow-themed images in support of marriage equality. I promote female artists regularly. I work closely with (RED) to raise awareness and funds for treating and preventing HIV/AIDS in Africa. I also want other people to feel inspired by my work, and not be afraid to "mimic" my style to help them experiment with photography. That's the whole idea behind #candyminimal--an open-sourced style to get others to start seeing the world differently.

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Coffee with Collaborators is an interview series featuring the incredibly talented, creative voices in our community. Interested in having coffee? Email us.