Carlota Guerrero, Joy Yamusangie and Margarida Ferreira push the creative potential of TikTok
Interpreting the emotions of envy, amusement and romance, each creative has introduced a more traditional medium – and an entirely unique perspective – to the app.
We’re back again with more idents produced by more amazing creatives as part of our ongoing collaboration with TikTok: Creative Canvas. So far we’ve seen Lucas Zanotto, Kenny Brandenberger, Jon Emmony and Sophie Koko Gate take a stab at interpreting one emotion apiece for a 30-second clip, exhibited in TikTok’s TopView slot when users open the app. With each clip set against audio produced by Sounds Like These, users of the app have come to expect the regular drops, engaging with the weird and wonderful content being produced as part of the project.
To date, the work produced has largely been digital in nature, including some AR, a bit of kinetic type and some otherworldly animation too. But this week’s line-up sees a few more traditional techniques introduced into the fray with hand-drawn animation, stop motion, and film. It’s been amazing to see the response on TikTok to such unique formats of creativity being introduced into users’ feeds with Lucas’ ident garnering 20,972,859 views, and in turn completing our mission of experimenting with the creative potential of the app and reflecting the expressive nature of its content.
Here’s how Margarida Ferreira, Joy Yamusangie and Carlota Guerrero got on with interpreting our overarching theme: Creativity with Humanity…
When she was assigned the emotion of “envy” to interpret, the illustrator and animator Margarida Ferreira (also known as Margo – or is it Tiago? I don’t know who’s Margo…) was a little stumped. “It seemed like a difficult emotion to turn into the light and fun ident I had idealised in my head,” says the creative, who splits her time between Stockholm and Porto. So, she began trying to get a grasp of why we feel envy, realising that “despite being pictured as a negative emotion — even sinful! — it is a perfectly rational response to a world where people are often made to feel like they’re in competition with one another.”
This is, of course, only amplified by social media, she continues, creating a world where we cannot help but compare ourselves to others. She landed, therefore, on the idea of unpicking the social factors behind envy, “with the idea of chasing an impossible standard – but making it funny still.”
Two characters appear in Margarida’s narrative. One is an eager “TikToker” trying their best to fit in and competing against a “seemingly flawless character that is in fact… a robot,” she explains. As this eager character tries and fails, and tries and fails again to meet the standard of this robot, their feelings of envy grow. Eventually, however, the robot malfunctions and self-destructs – “its artificial nature simply came to the surface naturally,” as Margarida puts it. “It felt like a more understanding and empathetic approach to envy too, instead of portraying it as something inherently evil and villainesque.”
It’s a lighthearted and jovial ident, despite the fact that it portrays one of the more negative emotions of this project, something Margarida felt comfortable doing after scrolling through TikTok and getting “accustomed to all the weird, creative things that go down”. It was truly fun, she continues, trying to bring some of the chaotic energy of the app into her work.
Being asked to depict an emotion in this way was a challenge Margarida relished, she tells us, as emotions and feeling are the basis of her work. “The necessity of making sense of whatever it is I feel is what drives me to create stories and illustrations. So ‘Creativity with Humanity’ just made a lot of sense to me.” For Margarida, therefore, the process has been one of discovery, of taking the time to unpick an emotion, and get to the bottom of why and how people experience it.
Taking an entirely different and refreshing approach to creating their ident, the next creative tasked with tackling Creativity with Humanity was Joy Yamusangie. Based in London and one of our Ones to Watch for 2020, Joy is a fine artist and so brings a whole new style to the platform. Their emotion was amusement and so they decided to use stop motion as “it’s quite a fun process that I feel lends to the brief well.” Upon hearing the brief, Joy considered making a time lapse instead of a stop motion, but went for the latter as “in my set runs it came across as more playful and in line with the upbeat music and theme.” The result is a short that cleverly adapts Joy’s signature artistic style to a whole new medium.
Working with stop motion is a slow process and it requires taking sometimes hundreds of photos. It had also been a while since Joy had worked with stop motion, and so their biggest challenge was “keeping patient throughout”. They continue to explain that “It’s a lengthy process, the lighting has to be consistent, the set-up has to be fully marked out. There’s not as much room for the spontaneity that my work usually consists of, but it is worth all the time.” However, it was this arduous process which made the project so rewarding, with Joy describing rendering the final piece as the most enjoyable aspect of the process: “When the hundreds of photos come together to make a flowing video, that’s the most rewarding part.”
As with many, Joy hadn’t considered TikTok as a platform for artists or creatives to share their work, but now sees how “many creatives use it to showcase their animations, performance work and all the ‘behind the scenes’ of their work.” It’s this latter aspect that interests Joy the most, and they see potential in the ways they could go on to document their process in the future, sharing this kind of content on the app.
Finally, we worked with the Barcelona-based artist and photographer Carlota Guerrero. A self-taught artist, Carlota’s career has been consumed with “obsessively portraying women”, something she hopes will “never stop”. When tasked with portraying the emotion of romance, though, Carlota turned her lens away from other women and onto herself, telling us how “After the isolation, creating with myself was the most human thing I could do.” In turn, she’s telling a story of self romance, as she believes it is the “ultimate love story”. This idea, she continues, was the first one she struck upon and it stuck, which is often the case when she’s working on a project, adding that “many times, the first idea is my favourite.”
On what the actual narrative of her short is, Carlota explains: “My ident portrays a woman (me) waiting for somebody to come and save her, until she realises that that somebody is herself. Romance starts and then a psychedelic fusion – two become a better one.” Visually, this is portrayed by the meeting of two Carlotas, who then twirl and intertwine with one another, a visual effect that was created by 3D artist Julia Crehueras.
Similarly to Margarida, Carlota spent time on TikTok, getting to know the kind of content that’s already out there before she attempted to create her own ident. It was a process that allowed her to understand the essence of the app, and to learn how to approach creating work for the phone screen format, a new challenge for her.
Tonight, at midnight, we will be releasing another ident, this time made by London-based artist Rosanna Webster. To catch it live in TopView slot, download TikTok and log on before midnight on Wednesday.
About the Author
Ruby joined the It’s Nice That team as an editorial assistant in September 2017 after graduating from the Graphic Communication Design course at Central Saint Martins. In April 2018, she became a staff writer and in August 2019, she was made associate editor. Get in contact with Ruby about ideas you may have for long-form stories on the site.