Accidentally Wes Anderson’s Wally Koval
Wally Koval was working as a product marketing director in New York when he started an Instagram account in 2017 called “Accidentally Wes Anderson.” Originally conceived as a kind of travel bucket list with his wife, Amanda, the profile—which serves as an homage to director Wes Anderson’s distinctive fanciful, nostalgic, always-symmetrical visual aesthetic—quickly went viral.
Now, Koval and his wife curate and publish daily content for more than a million followers (or “Adventurers”), a community that includes more than a few professional and novice photographers (or “Explorers”). (Every Koval and his wife receive thousands of submissions for AWA.) Koval recently even published a book spotlighting more than 200 idiosyncratic locations, including the stories behind each one. You can check out Korval’s projects on Creatively here.
What is the first creative project you remember?
In the eighth grade, I created a sculpture that was submitted to a state-wide contest. I won $100! I was super pumped and at the time, I felt like I had won the lottery. The sculpture still sits in a case in my parents’ basement.
Describe your aesthetic in three words.
Community-oriented––with a capital ‘C’. Symmetrical. Subjective.
I say “subjective” because we post one photo a day, 30 photos a month—even though we receive over 3,000 submissions a month. We look at every single one and even if a photo is not ultimately chosen, every single one resonated [as ‘Accidentally Wes Anderson’ with the member of the Community who sent it our way, and that is what makes it so special].
What was the most fulfilling collaboration you’ve worked on?
Accidentally Wes Anderson, The Book––by far. Yes, Wes Anderson wrote the foreword, but from a collaboration perspective––just to make this book, it took the collaborative effort of 180 photographers from 50+ different countries.
What’s one creative project that taught you something fundamental about yourself?
Not to be repetitive, but the book––by far. This was a two-and-a-half-year project. I’ve posted on IG on @accidentallywesanderson once a day, every single day, for three and a half years. I’ve posted on the day of weddings and funerals, in dentist chairs, and beyond. Outside of brushing my teeth, I’ve never been consistent with anything else like this in my entire life. It’s hard work, but it doesn’t feel like work. I know it sounds cheesy, but our community creates a level of excitement that Amanda and I [likely] would have lost.
Do you think creativity is something you’re born with, or something you’re taught?
I think it’s half and half. I think there are certain people who are innately more skilled at forming or creating pieces but I definitely believe part of this can be learned. There is something that you have inside of you that activates once you’re interested in something creative.
What’s the last dream you had?
[Laughs] I got nothing. I don’t even know what I’ve had for lunch!
One hundred years from now, what do you hope people write about your work?
In 100 years, I hope that people say Accidentally Wes Anderson has influenced someone at some level to find some peace and positivity in the world and some level of excitement or engagement that spurred someone else to explore something new. Even if it was a new idea or a new reason to get off the couch and go down Main Street––or perhaps look behind a door that they wouldn’t have looked behind before. Even if it isn’t a mention of my project or my name, I hope that it creates a butterfly effect.
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