It takes a certain kind of social media genius to think to caption a photo of a 17th-century Simon Vouet painting with an Iggy Azalea lyric, François Boucher's Leda and the Swan with a Billy Madison quote, or a painting of an epic battle scene with Jon Snow's line, "I've fought beyond the wall against worse than Ramsay Bolton." But Lucy Redoglia of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art is no ordinary social media manager. Redoglia oversees LACMA's Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter accounts, but it's her clever storytelling on Snapchat, mixing art historical masterpieces and pop culture references, that's garnered a cult of 180,000 Snapchat followers and earned the institution a Webby Award.
Where most Snapchat stories are made on the fly, an in-the-moment peek at what our friends are doing in real time, Redoglia takes a more strategic approach. Sure, many of her snaps are funny one-offs—a photo of LACMA's model of the Getty Museum captioned "What is this? A center for ants?!"—but her more ambitious stories can take hours to complete. Last year she walked through LACMA's many galleries shooting 60 artworks to create a Snap for nearly every line in "Bohemian Rhapsody." (You can see LACMA's epic take on the Queen classic later in this edition.)
"It probably took about six hours," Redoglia says. "An hour a day for four days, and then maybe another two hours here and there of planning and looking things up. If you watch the video, it's two full minutes of snaps."
Redoglia's other themed stories include a series of four face swaps using Nicolas Cage and faces from various pieces of artwork (which is both horrifying and incredible at the same time), snaps with lines from "Sk8r Boi," and a story that paired every line from the trailer for the "Battle of the Bastards" episode of Game of Thrones with a work in LACMA's collection.
"I try to stay away from politics," she says, "but we did do a tribute to Orlando, because Lin-Manuel Miranda's speech at the Tony's was so beautiful. I went through artworks and quoted him with snaps related to 'love is love.'"
Below, LACMA's social media mastermind reveals her approach to the perfect Snapchat story.
How would you characterize LACMA's Snapchat voice?
"It's tongue-in-cheek and playful, but still smart about the artwork. I can be silly and that just gives it a little bit of personality and life. The rest is the artwork."
How do you plan a themed story? What comes first, the images or the caption ideas?
"Sometimes something will come to me while I'm in the galleries, and I'll just post it right away. But I use a Google Doc to track my ideas, and I put song lyrics or quotes or memes in there that I want to maybe do a little bit more research on to find artworks [in the LACMA collection] that match it. I have a lot of things that I hold onto for a long time waiting for the perfect artwork to match, or vice versa."
What are the song lyrics or movie quotes you're hoping to use soon?
"I can't reveal my secrets! But we love Beyoncé and we love Drake. We're always going back to their lyrics. Kanye, too. I'm trying to find a way to use 'One Week' by the Barenaked Ladies—a good '90s reference, but it's a tough one."
Aside from the behemoth "Bohemian Rhapsody" story, how long do you usually spend on LACMA's Snapchat stories?
"If it's five or six lines, it takes half an hour, 45 minutes to match an artwork, plus the time it takes to physically go and snap those. Or it could take up to a couple hours to plan. I do it periodically, not all by once."
Elevating "Sk8r Boi" to the level of high art.
What are you snapping today?
"LACMA visited the Watts Towers Arts Center as a group, and I snapped a picture and a video to showcase our neighbors in Los Angeles. Then I added the lyrics from 'California Love,' because Tupac mentions the Watts."
Jidenna's "Classic Man" meets some classic images.
Follow @lacma on Snapchat for hilarious stories that blend art masterpieces with your favorite lyrics and movie quotes.