The Art Angle Podcast: Could TikTok Save a Broken Art World?

On this week's episode, Zachary Small discusses how artists are using TikTok to create a new, equitable art world—and make money, too.

Artists are using TikTok to gain an audience, and sell work too. Photo: Getty Images.

Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join host Andrew Goldstein every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more with input from our own writers and editors as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.



For many emerging artists, social media platforms have become an indispensable platform for jumpstarting their careers. But years after Instagram sparked its first zeitgeist-shaping visual trends, a different set of creatives has begun finding their rhythm outside the bounds of traditional institutions thanks to a newer app: TikTok. Owned by a Chinese company called ByteDance and powered by an uncannily perceptive content-discovery algorithm, the video-sharing platform now counts nearly a billion active users around the globe and seems to be transforming a growing list of teens and twenty-somethings into millionaire influencers.

For contemporary artists like Colette Bernard and Kelsy Landin, TikTok has also proven to be the most effective app yet for building a sizable audience of loyal—and often paying—fans. Now, though, with the Trump administration threatening bans of TikTok and WeChat in the US over security concerns, Bernard, Landin, and several other artists are facing the prospect of losing their newfound livelihoods only months after finding a true creative home on the platform.

On this week’s episode of the Art Angle, journalist Zachary Small joins the show to discuss what has made TikTok such a revelation to artists across a variety of age groups, which kinds of artworks are attracting the most attention there, and how a TikTok ban would only worsen the devastating “brain drain” vacuuming young, diverse talent away from the increasingly troubled art industry.

Listen above and subscribe to the Art Angle on Apple PodcastsSpotifySoundCloud, or wherever you get your podcasts. (Or catch up on past episodes here on Artnet News.)


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