At TikTok, we embrace creativity and celebrate our diverse community. We're driven by a passion to provide a welcoming space for people around the world, where they feel comfortable expressing themselves and being there for each other. This has inspired us to launch #CreateKindness, a global safety campaign and creative video series, as we continue to encourage everyone to choose kindness in their everyday lives.
This month we're also spotlighting the six creator-animators we partnered with to help bring the campaign to life. These talented creators wrote, animated, and lent their voices to their videos, which infuse their distinctive style with their personal experiences with online bullying.
Today, we celebrate illustrator and animator Kelly Emmrich (@kellyemmrich), who started creating TikTok videos at the beginning of the pandemic to recreate the beautiful nature scenes she witnessed around her. Kelly's pensive art style complements the profound themes she explores through her art.
How would you describe your art style?
I would say that my style is pretty painterly. I think color-wise, and a lot of the time style-wise, my art style in the Pop Art realm. I'm not entirely sure how to classify it, but I do gravitate towards charcoal brushes in photoshop. I like to play a lot with texture and color when I animate.
Has TikTok inspired your art in any way? What makes you continue to create and share your art on TikTok?
I started initially sharing for myself just to create an online portfolio of sorts. I still share for that same reason, but some of the comments that I started getting during the early months of quarantine really made me want to continue posting publicly. 2020 was such a stressful and trying year, and I tried to make calming and peaceful content. A lot of the comments were essentially that people had been having a tough time and my videos helped them calm down in a stressful moment. Another reason that I've continued to post and be inspired to create is all of the talent on the app. I get so inspired scrolling and am constantly saving audios that I want to create a video around and seeing new framing ideas for my animations.
What's the kindest comment (about your art) you've received on TikTok?
I think my favorite comments are the ones that show that one of my videos impacted someone in a positive way. A comment I got on one of my recent videos was "This is amazing. Your videos always make my day better." Something like that is just so nice to read and it makes me feel like my videos are helping people in a little way.
If you had to sketch/illustrate kindness, what would it look like?
I associate kindness with nature for some reason; so, it would probably be a drawing of a hand lifting a ladybug up to take flight or something. I grew up in a rural area, so I was always taught to be kind and gentle with the land and the animals surrounding me (including bugs). Or it would be a hug. Because I'm a pretty tactile touchy feely person, just supporting someone else illustrates my idea of kindness.
Which TikTok creators do you admire or inspire you?
What do you think makes the TikTok community so special?
The Tiktok community is especially kind. I mostly interact with the film and art sides of TikTok, and everyone that I've interacted with has been endlessly creative and supportive. I think that the app has garnered a real sense of community. It doesn't feel overly competitive and it feels like there is plenty of space for everyone on the app which is a nice thing to be around.
Why do you think people bully or try to hurt one another, especially online?
It's difficult to pinpoint one specific reason, but, for online, there is a certain anonymity to it that makes it feel more comfortable for people to be meaner and say things that they wouldn't say offline. Perhaps with social media it's easy to feel jealousy and take it out on others to knock them down. It's tough to see that happen because then it's common to see people jump on the bandwagon of attacking a person.
What do you think can people can do in their own way to make the internet a kinder, more inclusive place?
I think making an effort to comment on other peoples videos goes a long way. When people comment something on my page that I find really nice it really makes my day. Those commenters don't realize how much a kind comment could mean to someone. Just that little thing could make a world of difference.
What does the #CreateKindness campaign mean to you?
I feel honored to have been asked by TikTok to be a part of it. I think this past year has been so challenging and the Internet has become a place of comfort; so, it's hard to see negative things happening online and on such a comforting app. For me, making something inspirational is very important now more than ever. Art has long had social justice undertones, and it's important to continue that.
What do you want people to understand about your video for the #CreateKindness campaign?
For this project, I wanted to create a video that reminds people that while it's easy to get lost and fixate on negative comments, the positive typically outweighs the negative. I pulled from some real negative and positive comments that I've gotten on Tiktok to try to make it more personal to me. I also used the woods behind my home as references for the outdoor backgrounds. As for the choice to write a poem instead of a traditional script, I wanted to make the video feel most authentic to my style. A poem just felt more natural to me.
You can find Kelly's video for the #CreateKindness below, all month within our Discover page as well as permanently on @TikTokTips.
We also invite you to share the kind comments you've received and inspiring moments you've experienced by joining our #CreateKindness hashtag challenge.