Taking a cue from the evil Kermit craze, New York City rapper and artist Bunny Michael turned their practice of creating double self-portraits into a spiritually enlightening series of memes that has made their Instagram wildly popular. Michael's memes challenge their followers to question the way they think and feel, spreading a message of self-love with every hashtag.
OUT: How did you start making your self/higher self memes?
Bunny Michael: I've actually been making double self portraits for years now, I had an art show called Etheric Double in the summer of 2015, at the now closed Alt Space gallery in Brooklyn. I've been exploring the relationship with my Higher Self through my visual art since I had a vision during a meditation about three years ago. The vision was of me holding another me like a mother to a child. I was talking to myself and saying "you are ok, you're doing your best. I'm proud of you." It was such a profound experience and felt so healing. I wanted to explore more. The memes developed a couple years later, I had a strong sense that the message needed to be clearer. I wanted people to feel good. I wanted to give back. I had been a working artist in New York for so many years but never felt fulfilled. I realized that I had a greater purpose beyond my egos goals. I realized my true self was my "Higher Self". And I wanted to do everything I could to contribute love and care to as many people possible. That was my privilege
A lot of social media, even when it’s funny, can be very negative. Why is it important to you to spread positivity?
Social media is just a reflection of how people feel about themselves. I think I spread positivity but I don't ignore the negative- that's why there's the 2 perspectives; me and higher self. But sharing your feelings no matter [if] they are negative or not is an important part of our journey. Anger, frustration, fear — those feelings are just as valid. But like the cliche says "feelings aren't facts". I think we all need to be less attached to our emotions because they are temporary. Social media is helping us build our awareness and develop tools to detach and build boundaries.
Do you think social media has an untapped potential to teach us better ways to engage with the world?
There's so many people already using social media as a healing space. Since the memes have gained a following I have been made aware of so many other awesome Instagrams that I follow now. The cool thing is you can curate who you follow and actually make your feed help you. So when you scroll your not bogged down with anxiety.
Do you consider your instagram part of your artistic practice?
My art is my spiritual journey — it's my healing, it's my self actualization, it's my contribution — it's my only purpose.