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'Constantly Hustling' Local Illustrator Wins Hearts, and Followers

Adrienne Luther sits on a bench outside KBIA.
Isabel Lohman

Sometimes an artist just knows a person’s going to love their work. Jefferson City native Adrienne Luther knows when people ask her to doodle their cat, she’ll win their hearts.

But Luther does more than just doodle cats. She makes portraits, lettering and logos. She doesn’t want you to think she’s a starving artist. After all, thanks toInstagram, she’s not.

“I think when people think of people who are full-time artists, they think of people that have a stockpile of paintings that they haven't sold, that are just piled up in their sunroom, and who, you know, are just like smoking weed and painting all the time,” Luther said.

While Luther has a sunroom, she’s often in coffee shops making her art.

“The internet has really allowed me to stay afloat,” Luther said. “So I can just put something up on Instagram and sell it there. So I'm constantly hustling, but it's really fulfilling.”

Luther used to follow friends on her Instagram but felt it was becoming draining. She didn’t want to feel in competition with everyone, so she decided to only follow artists.

“My relationship with Instagram has really evolved,” Luther said. “And it was really scary at first to post my art because it felt vulnerable, and I didn't know what the hell to put in a caption.”

Once she started to just “be weird” with her posts, Luther said her work really took off. The Instagram story feature helped as well. Now, her followers are mostly in Columbia, St. Louis, Kansas City and Jefferson City.

“The engagement feels a little bit more authentic," she said, "than if I was just interacting with thousands of strangers."