Twisting reality on TikTok can be frighteningly easy, but one creator has inadvertently made it into a game.
Vita Kari, an artist with more than 757,000 followers on TikTok, has gone viral this summer for a series of videos that begin with the same intro: “The craziest thing about being creative is…” They then reveal something in the frame that isn’t real, and typically conclude with, “I printed it out.”
In one TikTok from August, which has more than 52 million views, the TikTok caption itself is printed out.
“Printing stuff out is super accessible as so many of us have a printer or have access to a printer, so literally anyone could do it,” Kari tells the Daily Dot. “And that’s what the fun of this video series is. It’s the absurdity of printing things out and bending reality because of it.”
Kari, a visual artist based in Los Angeles, started a community space called Vitawood in 2020, which is currently a “pop-up-based platform, highlighting other local artists.” They’re finishing their MFA as well, with a thesis on “virality as form.”
“My biggest realization about video consumption online is that I do it almost automatically, and it takes a lot for me to break out of the cycle of scrolling,” they say. “I think short-form videos, Reels, and TikToks are such an incredible way to share art, I knew it would be the perfect way to try out a video series where reality is interrupted, and suspended.”
The “I printed it out” series is certainly an interesting experiment in virality and engagement. In addition to Kari’s TikToks getting millions of views each, people have started gamifying the videos by guessing which part of it is fake or printed out before the reveal.
“the craziest thing about being creative [is] that, i never guess it correctly,” said one commenter.
Others have made jokes about the series being a big flex that they about own a printer, but Kari says they don’t always use the same one: “I actually use a bunch of different printers, because I’m always in different places! In a pinch, I’ve even gone to a library to print stuff out before. But even a basic color printer can make some amazing deceptive fake hands!”
@johlissa #duet with @Vita Kari #performanceart ♬ original sound – Johlissa
@jamellebouie #stitch with @Vita Kari ♬ original sound – Jamelle Bouie
“I especially love to see when viewers share ideas of what they think would be a cool video concept,” Kari says, “or when they share what they thought the printed item was going to be.”
There are also now parodies of the “I printed it out” videos. Before this series, Kari did one of images that looked like paintings, revealed to be printed out, which is where the “craziest thing about being creative” line took shape.
“Overall, my hope is that the larger project asks us to examine viewership and consumption critically,” they say, “but through the lens of play!”