… we should think of his social media posts as part of his practice, to be reviewed in and of themselves. These are, after all, not just how he got famous; in some sense they are what he is really famous for. And they are in many cases clearly staged….
Artists’ personal stories have long been part of how art is marketed, from Vincent van Gogh to Frida Kahlo, but in those cases, the artists’ paintings attracted interest first, and the biography became part of its legend as its fame grew. Today, personal biography and narrative are more important than ever in the gallery—most art comes equipped with some kind of story. But social media gives an added twist: Hordes of people can feel as if they have a relationship with a painter like Devon Rodriguez without ever having had any direct experience of his painting at all.
IMO, for empathetic, unguarded, photo-realistic images of passengers on the subway, look to Walker Evans’s photographs.