FARGO — Whether it’s for news, gaming or entertainment, new applications for smartphones come and go every day like waves crashing against the shore. But as the most-downloaded app of the year so far according to Hootsuite, viral video platform TikTok is here to stay.

Even outpacing apps like Twitter, Snapchat and Pinterest, TikTok allows users to create catchy clips around 15 seconds long featuring people singing, dancing and even creating works of art.

Local artists are venturing into the video platform, too.


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One of a growing number of artists using the video application TikTok to share their work, artist Andy Martinez is shown here posing in downtown Fargo. Photo by Tiffany Martinez / Special to The Forum
One of a growing number of artists using the video application TikTok to share their work, artist Andy Martinez is shown here posing in downtown Fargo. Photo by Tiffany Martinez / Special to The Forum

Making music

A big part of TikTok is how it uses trending music to make videos go viral. But artists like singer-songwriter Kwaician Traylor aren’t just dubbing their videos with tunes — they are also using the new platform to spread their own original content and help support other local musicians.

"It's a way for me to spread the word about other local musicians who I have on my playlists and stuff," he says. "As they upload music to Spotify, then it also gets uploaded to TikTok."

Kwaician also likes to post informal and funny videos that show a different side of himself, saying, "A lot of things that I post on TikTok don't go anywhere else. It really is about just connecting with people."

One musician who has showed up in Kwaician’s videos is his brother, Kylen, who is also a musician. The two joined forces to jam recently in their hometown of Chicago during the historic protests that erupted across the country after the killing of George Floyd by a police officer in Minneapolis. Chicago was no different, with Kwaician explaining he observed the same uproar and riots while he was back home with the city on fire.

Set to release an updated version of his popular song "Dark Days" later this month with local producer Don Paul, Kwaician’s outlook isn’t all doom and gloom. Like the song says, he’s still focused on the hustle and grind of creating music that connects.

"I always like to put a silver lining in my music because I don't think there's a place for hopelessness," he says.

Watch for Kwaician to release "Dark Days" on Spotify on June 26. Find him on TikTok by searching @naiciawk.


Just a quick idea I came up with. What does it make you think of? ##blackmusic ##minivlog ##kwaician ##acousticguitar

original sound - naiciawk

Creating art

For artist Andy Martinez, an obsession with TikTok grew out of excess time spent at home and on screens during the COIVD-19 pandemic. Martinez shares process videos of his work across various social media channels, but he says TikTok is different.

"On TikTok, if you try to translate the same video from Facebook or Instagram, it’s too long," Martinez says. "You've got to treat it like a mini music video."

Martinez may be outside the typical demographic that originally jumped on board when the app launched in 2018, but he says it’s not just for the younger crowd.

"I would say because of coronavirus, the adult demographic has increased," Martinez jokes. "There’s a bunch of feeds that say, 'We’re taking this over.'"

As a veteran of the U.S. Marines with a PhD in information assurance and security, he rediscovered his creative side in December, creating new works and revisiting old ones in graphite and oils. Videos of his artistic process are paired with catchy songs to show how he creates hyper-realistic portraits with graphite and oil paints.

Find Martinez on TikTok by searching @andymartinezart.

More accounts to follow

These TikTok accounts are only the tip of the iceberg. Discover more creatives who are sharing their work and learning from people across the world.

This article is part of a content partnership with The Arts Partnership, a nonprofit organization cultivating the arts in Fargo, Moorhead and West Fargo. For more information, visit http://theartspartnership.net.