Jackie Liu gains a following on TikTok through her artwork

In+this+piece%2C+titled+weeds%2C+Liu+challenges+the+importance+beauty+standards+and+compares+it+to+flowers+and+weeds.

Jackie Liu

In this piece, titled “weeds”, Liu challenges the importance beauty standards and compares it to flowers and weeds.

Ava Dreyer, Feature editor

COVID-19 boredom has led people to do many things they may not have been able to do without all of this free time. For WHS senior Jackie Liu, she was able to create a TikTok account sharing her artwork, which quickly gained a following.

“At the end of March, I created a TikTok account purely as a joke,” Liu said. “Soon, I started gaining an audience, and started to really enjoy sharing my work and creative process through the platform.”

TikTok is a video-sharing social media platform that millions of people all over the world are using. Videos can be as long as 60 seconds, and can cover a wide range of genres, from dance, to educational, and to art.

Liu’s account, called @jackieliuart, now has over 693,000 followers on TikTok. She has posted many viral videos of paintings commemorating the late actor, Chadwick Boseman, the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and some of her own creative pieces. Her most popular video, with 28.6 million views, is a personal painting inspired by her relationship with her mother.

 “Jackie is an incredibly talented artist and activist, and I really respect that she uses her talents to enact positive change,” senior Mia Lambert, who bought a piece from Liu, said.

Liu has been taking art classes with art teacher, Julie Hom-Mandell, since her freshman year. Hom-Mandell has been able to see her progress into the artist she is today. 

“She created a piece of a human skeleton, took a photo, and made the exact replica, exact to scientific medical anatomy,” Hom-Mandell recalled. “A medical publisher contacted her about it. She’s so accurate but yet she can also be so free with her paint. I’ve honestly never seen anything like that in my life before.”

However, Liu’s success in the arts stretches farther than just TikTok. She has earned many other amazing achievements, like being selected to represent Massachusetts all state art, and was a national medalist for the 2020 Scholastic Awards. Still, Liu is very critical of her work.

“I don’t really have favorites, but I do have least favorites,” Liu explained, “It’s more about which pieces I absolutely can’t bear to look at, and which ones I can tolerate. I’m very critical of my own work, and tend to be hyper-focused on the flaws and inadequacies. But this is something I’m trying to work on!”

In her TikTok videos, Liu is able to not only share her artistic process with the world, but also her personality through humorous voiceovers.

“Jackie does a wonderful job utilizing social media to spread awareness and market her brand. I am not surprised that she is gaining such a great following so fast, because her final products are stunning and she does a great job of filming the process. Her personality and sense of humor really shine through on her page,” Lambert said.

Not only does Liu have an influential personality over her growing followers, but she also impacts those around her in her daily life.

“She always asks how you’re doing, and checks in with other teachers and peers. She has the most amazing work ethic I’ve seen in my life probably,” Hom-Mandell stated. “She is also the most caring person. Not only does she paint and express herself, but I think she helps others through her artwork. She has such poise and it’s genuine. She is one of my heroes. She shines through on so many levels.”