JASPER, Ind. (AP) — “And the world came together as the people stayed apart.”
When Jasper artist Jennifer Wagner, 46, created the above quote, pasted it in yellow letters on a black background and encircled it in a crown of flowers, she had no idea it would go viral on social media.
But it did.
Once Wagner — the artist behind Inspirivity, a combination of ‘inspiration’ and ‘creativity’ — posted the piece on her Facebook and Instagram pages, it spread quickly as people shared it as an offering of hope amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. It even ended up on a CNBC newscast.
Not bad for an artist who began sharing her work publicly in 2018.
Inspirivity grew out of a New Year’s resolution Wagner made on New Year’s Eve in 2017 to create one piece of art a day for a whole year. She hasn’t missed a day since Jan. 1, 2018.
“I hadn’t done any art in a while, and I just wanted to be more creative,” she said.
She created a private Instagram page where she posted her digital drawings after finishing them on Adobe Sketch. At first, only her two sons — Luke, 21, and Nate, 18 — followed the page with the assignment of keeping her accountable to her goal of a drawing a day.
She filled the feed with brightly colored pieces featuring inspirational quotes surrounded by colorful swirls and whimsical designs. Every so often, she threw in an Indiana University-themed piece for Luke. Soon, Luke’s and Nate’s friends wanted to follow her, too, so she made the account public. She kept gaining followers, and some asked her to make a Facebook page. She did, and her following grew there, too. Soon, she had more than 20,000 followers. In the last few weeks, that number has grown to more than 40,000.
“People just started following it,” she said. “It was kind of crazy.”
She attributes the recent growth to the pandemic and people’s desire for something positive.
“Everything I post is about positivity and trying to spread kindness,” she said. “I think people just want to see that.”
At first, Wagner wondered how she would have enough inspiration to create one piece of art a day. That concern led her to inspirational quotes. A quick internet search in the morning can usually lead her to one that catches her eye. When she can’t find one, her mom, Pat Haas, is happy to give her one. So are her fans, who fill her inbox with suggestions.
“I have enough to last me for a while now,” she said.
She also always has the months of December and January covered. December is dedicated to Christmas-themed pieces, and in January, she makes pieces with just one word to illustrate people’s focus words for the new year.
Wagner is amazed at how quickly something that began as a hobby grew to be nationally known. She now has a Zazzle store where people can purchase prints of her pieces on various products, and she was recently contacted by a Florida company that wants to print her work on products that it sells in stores nationwide. Locally, she has prints at EJ and Dots,The Yellow House and Elements. She also donates work to the Lange-Fuhs Cancer Center and local fundraisers. Wagner can be contacted through the Inspirivity Facebook page or by email at email@example.com.