Skip to main content
Artist Digital Content

4 Artists behind Handcrafted Visual Stories that became Viral on Social Media

Artist Digital Content

Andwr's Newsletter

Swipe right on creativity! Andwr's newsletter brings you the latest in design trends, viral content, and inspiration. Subscribe & ignite your inbox!

Social Media and digital platforms have completely transformed the way art and creativity are shared worldwide. With just a swipe, click, share, or like, artistic expression breaks free from the confines of galleries and printed publications, reaching audiences like never before. However, amidst this digital renaissance, there's a captivating revival of non-digital artistry that embraces the tactile, immediate, and traditional. These artists find a new home in the digital landscape, enchanting audiences with their unique crafts and sensory aesthetic.

In this blog post, I'll showcase four remarkable artists who've embraced the new media to showcase their art. They haven't transitioned to digital, but instead, they demonstrate their creative process, highlighting the charm and depth of handmade art. Despite the allure of instant gratification and the gloss of digital galleries, they prove that no filter or algorithm can mimic the irreplaceable beauty of their craft.

Stepan Barnev: The Bleach Calligrapher

bleach calligraphy
an interpretation of Stepan Barnev's art

As a calligraphy artist, Barnev has chosen an unconventional path, swapping the traditional ink and paper for bleach and black sweatshirts. His works, an alchemical blend of orange tones set against a dark canvas, create a lasting impression.
Stepan Barnev's artistic tool of choice, bleach, interacts with black fabric in a fascinating way. Instead of turning the fabric white as one might anticipate, it produces a vivid orange color. 

This surprising result is due to the bleach breaking down the dyes within the fabric. However, not all dyes are equally susceptible. Often, black fabrics have an underlying deep orange or red dye, which becomes apparent once the top layers of dye are broken down by the bleach. This striking contrast against the remaining black fabric results in an aesthetically appealing and distinctive artwork.

digital art
an interpretation of Stepan Barnev's art

The field of calligraphy is rich and varied, with numerous artists gaining recognition for their captivating craftsmanship. Many of these artists use a pen or brush to create their art on traditional mediums like paper, but also on more unconventional surfaces like glass and walls. Their intricate strokes form beautiful scripts that are a delight to behold.

However, Stepan Barnev's unique approach sets him apart from his contemporaries. His innovative use of bleach on fabric offers a fresh take on calligraphy, challenging traditional norms and expanding the boundaries of this ancient art form.

Stepan Barnev's work has not only garnered attention but has also achieved viral status on social media platforms like Instagram. His Reels, showcasing the transformation of basic black sweatshirts into extraordinary pieces of art, have amassed millions of views. This success underscores the impact and appeal of his unconventional artistic approach, positioning him as a standout non-digital artist in the digital content creation world.

Find him on Instagram:  @nik_vikond

Sacramento History Museum: A Journey Back in Print

an interpretation of the letterpress used by SHM

A stronghold of the past, the Sacramento History Museum serves as a rich tapestry of untold stories and an artist's canvas. Here, Howard and Jared breathe new life into historical narratives using manual letterpress equipment, transforming everything from pamphlets to placards into tangible pieces of history.

The museum has gained global recognition, largely due to its significant social media presence. Howard Hatch, affectionately known as "Howard the printer," has been instrumental in this success. His work at the museum went viral during the pandemic, earning him the title of TikTok's first major influencer. Today, his influence extends across various social media platforms, bolstering the museum's online presence.

In a recent interview, Howard shared his experiences:

“The Sacramento History Museum has become a global sensation. I started gaining attention during the pandemic, when my work here went viral on TikTok. Now, our influence spans across various social media platforms. We're not only the number one museum on TikTok, but we've also claimed that spot on YouTube. With 460,000 Facebook followers and 157,000 on Instagram, it's safe to say our reach is expansive. I like to think that many of these followers are fans of the Kings, the local basketball team we support. 

Our printing press, with which we create these historic papers, dates back over a century. It's older than the last time the Kings were in the playoffs! We even have a vintage basketball, the kind they don't make anymore. Everything here is stitched together with history. 

As for being called the city's greatest influencer, well, it's a title I wear reluctantly. But we support Sacramento because Sacramento supports us. So, let's go Kings! And let's keep lighting up our social media channels. Despite the jokes about the Kings' playoff chances, we're here, printing and sharing our city's story every day. And hopefully, we'll keep lighting that beam for a long time.”

an interpretation of the letterpress used by SHM

Despite his modesty, Howard's passion for his craft and the city he represents is clear. His work at the Sacramento History Museum continues to resonate with audiences worldwide, proving that history can come alive in the most unexpected ways.

Follow The Sacramento History Museum on Instagram @sachistorymusem and on YouTube

Shinra Shinge: Crafting Movement with Paper 

paper manga
an interpretation of Shinra Shinge's works

In the bustling, digital world of Japan's anime industry, Shinra Shinge shines as an unconventional artist. His animations are not products of complex programming or intricate algorithms but rather a testament to the timeless artistry of paper and patience. Every meticulously crafted drawing is a cell, a vital cog that propels the narrative of his animations forward. His work stands as a powerful homage to the traditional methods of animation, reminding us of the roots of this now predominantly digital industry.

The Art of Animation: Layer by Layer

Shinge's approach to animation is a careful act of composition and decomposition. It's a dance choreographed between layers of paper, a story told through interlocking panels, and a visual symphony composed of countless individual cells. His method reveals a profound appreciation for the process, where every step in the creation journey is as important as the final product.

Unlike many artists who only share their finished works, Shinge takes to social media to curate and showcase the creative process behind his animations. He peels back the layers of his artistry, revealing how simple movements are achieved by manipulating layers of paper, and how characters are brought to life through his unique form of animation. His posts offer a rare glimpse into the magic and meticulous work behind each scene.

In today's world, where animation is often associated with high-tech digital tools and software, Shinge’s posts serve as a poignant tribute to the tactile nature of traditional animation. They pay homage to the flip of the animator's sheets, to the simplistic beauty of flip books and zoetropes that laid the foundation for today's billion-dollar animation industry.

paper manga
an interpretation of Shinra Shinge's works

Adding another feather to his cap, Shinge has also authored a book available on Amazon Japan. Titled "Moving Paper Craft," the book showcases his innovative use of everyday materials like paper cups, chopsticks, and cardboard to create unique moving crafts. 

Shinge's artistry extends beyond traditional paper and pen. By incorporating pull-out tabs into his works, he adds an element of movement that brings his scenes to life, creating a film-like experience that captivates the viewer. His work blurs the lines between static and moving art, presenting narratives in a way that is both innovative and deeply rooted in tradition.

Shinra Shinge's work serves as a reminder that even amidst the digital frenzy of modern animation, there's still room for the traditional artistry that started it all. Through his creative paper layering and storytelling, he continues to push the boundaries of what's possible with paper and a dash of creativity.

Follow Shinra Shinge on Instagram @shin.2580

Yoon Hyup: Painter of City Lights

an interpretation of Yoon Hyup's works

In the heart of the city that never sleeps, artist Yoon Hyup finds his inspiration. His canvas is the night itself, a stage where New York City's towering skyscrapers and twinkling lights perform a visual symphony. Through delicate linework and pointillist compositions, Yoon Hyup captures the frenetic energy and chaos inherent in urban life.

Yoon Hyup’s art can be likened to nocturnes - musical compositions inspired by or evocative of the night. Similarly, his paintings are a visual ode to the city after dark. Each stroke is a note, each dot a star, together composing an abstract cityscape that resonates with the rhythm of New York nights. His works are a fascinating blend of chaos and order, mirroring the city that serves as his muse.

At first glance, Hyup's minimalist canvases might seem like blurred photographs of sprawling city skylines or serene beachfront views. However, upon closer inspection, one realizes they are carefully crafted compositions of abstract acrylic marks. These marks, precise and deliberate, come together to capture not only the physicality of a location but also its ambient mood. They evoke the hum of traffic, the glow of street lamps, the hushed whispers of the night, immersing viewers in the sensory experience of being in that particular place.

an interpretation of Yoon Hyup's work

Before he became known for his unique canvases, Yoon Hyup K started his artistic journey as a street artist. This background has undoubtedly influenced his work, infusing it with a raw, gritty authenticity that sets it apart. The streets, with their ever-changing landscapes and ceaseless activity, served as both his canvas and classroom, shaping his artistic vision and honing his skills.

The transition from street art to canvas has allowed Yoon Hyup to bring the essence of the city into indoor spaces, creating portals to the vibrant urban landscapes that inspire him. His work is a testament to the power of art to capture and convey the spirit of a place, offering viewers a glimpse into his perspective of the city that never sleeps.

Follow Yoon Hyup on Instagram @ynhp

Conclusion: A Canvas Beyond Pixels

In a time where content is mass-produced, these artists stand as testament to the unyielding appeal of the handmade – and in extending their craft to social media, they remind us that art is more than just a visual medium. It’s the pursuit of resonance over reach, of engagement over exposure. As content creators and art enthusiasts, we ought to celebrate these weavers of the non-digital, for in their art, they offer us a canvas beyond pixels, a melody beyond the screens that clutter our lives. 

To immerse oneself in these artists’ portfolios isn’t simply to see their work; it’s to engage with their passion, to feel the tools in one's hands, to scrawl in bleach, to carve in ink, to create a tapestry of New York's skyline not as separate dots but a string of lights forming a city's face. Their art shapes our digital content realm, whispering in photos that journey through decades, in sheets that create more than shade or texture, in the pull of paper, in lives lived and told. So the next time you scroll through art, pause to appreciate not just what's made but how it's made – and the hands that made it.

About the author

Andrea Riezzo

I'm Andrea Riezzo, and I want to share my passion for creativity, inspiration, and design with you. As a creative, I've always been fascinated by the power of graphic and web design, social media, and photography to tell engaging stories and capture the imagination.

With 15+ years of experience in the industry, I've developed a deep understanding of what it takes to create designs that grab attention and leave a lasting impression. My expertise as a freelance graphic - web designer has enabled me to work on some truly incredible projects, and I've had the pleasure of collaborating with some amazing clients over the years.

So let's dive in and create something truly amazing - because when it comes to creativity, the possibilities are endless.

You can find me on LinkedIn, Instagram, Behance or Threads