How Using Emotions Can Make Your Artwork Viral

by Catherine Watts Leave a Comment

How Using Emotions Can Make Your Artwork Viral

by Catherine Watts

Every artist dreams of having their artwork go viral. Really viral. Around-the-world viral. We’d all love to become a household name like Weird Al Yankovic. Okay, maybe not exactly like Weird Al. Nonetheless, he certainly represents a good example of the notoriety viral art can bring.

Did you know that there’s an equation of sorts that can help your art go viral? Let’s take an in-depth look at what viral art has in common.

How to Make Your Artwork Viral

Science has shown that emotions are at the root of most things that go viral — whether those happen to be memes, Instagram photos, a dance routine, songs, or paintings. And there’s one particular emotion that gets us sharing faster — and that’s anger.

Jonah Berger, a Wharton School professor at the University of Pennsylvania says, “Anger is a high-arousal emotion, which drives people to take action. It makes you feel fired up, which makes you more likely to pass things on.”

You can see this effect in action with the viral success of Beyonce’s Lemonade album that addressed black empowerment. It is in Childish Gambino’s This is America song and video as well which touches on race-based violence. And, when Anoosha Syed depicted Harry Potter character Hermione as a woman of color and was trolled by racists, her picture went viral in the best of ways, with even Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling joining the fray in defense of the artist. The same anger helped another artist, Sophia Canning, go viral when she also posted a painting of Hermione as black.

Most things that go viral can also include surprise and intensity, elements that work well with strong emotions like anger and even awe.

How Other Emotions Can Help You Go Viral

Anger is certainly the strongest and most effective emotion that helps someone’s work go viral. However, it isn’t the only one. Three of the best include awe, humor, and nostalgia.

Who among us hasn’t seen a video or image that hasn’t inspired an open-mouthed sort of awe? There are numerous examples to think of. One that immediately comes to mind, however, is the work of artist, Red Hong Yi. Her work with creating art out of tea leaves has not only become viral but was also featured on the recently released JPMorgan Chase Bank commercial, “Chase Presents Red’s Way.” The commercial focused on her creation, “Tiger in Tea Leaves,” completed that year, which she had dedicated to her father, whom she hailed as “the strongest man I know.”

Harkening back to the use of humor to create something viral, we can go back to Weird Al Yankovic. His parody videos of major songs have made him a household name. Weird Al isn’t the only one, though. The parody of Beyonce’s Lemonade album by Tituss Burgess on the Netflix show, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” is also a great instance of how hilarity can be a key to notoriety.

Lastly, nostalgia can play a huge part in getting your work noticed by the masses. Anoosha Syed’s and Sophia Canning’s showed how anger can make a piece of art go viral. But it also showed how nostalgia can play just as big a role. There are few millennials alive today who are not aware of Harry Potter at least, in any way. And, millennials are the largest generation of Internet consumers. So playing to their love of the past is a great way to get more shares.

But the same goes for other generations as well. Michael Jackson is an icon and there can be little doubt about that. Try to create a dance video showing some of his best moves and the costumes to match. Then, you’ve got the type a viral nostalgia all artists dream for. Last year, Ricardo Walker’s Crew posted a Youtube video that showed off some Michael Jackson’s best-choreographed dances. Needless to say, it was an immense hit and has garnered more than 9,000,000 views on Youtube alone.

Undeniably, adding some form of emotional element to your art will help it gain notoriety.

How Art Collaboration Can Help You Put Emotion into Your Work

Art collaboration is a great way to explore all the emotions in your genre of art. Having another artist — or artists — to bounce ideas off and get discussions going on emotional topics can be invaluable. Getting together with artists from differing backgrounds, races, genders, ages, and religions can not only foster cooperation. It could also help uncover — and express — some very emotional subjects.

Hathart – A Safe Place for Art Collaboration Online

So you want to explore art collaboration ideas with other artists in a safe, online environment. Then, you’ve come to the right place.

Hathart is a social networking platform where performing and visual artists meet. Our multifaceted site will provide the resources you need to find the right collaborators for your next artistic endeavor.

We provide a safe space for artists from all backgrounds to meet. It is where they could express themselves and collaborate on a variety of projects across all artistic genres.

We provide a jobs database, a classifieds section for selling your art supplies, a place to upload portfolios and receive feedback. An excellent way to find other artists, too, with whom you can collaborate. If you want to connect get your work noticed, please register for free at



"Hello All! My name is Catherine Watts and I am the founder of Hathart. For 10 years I was trained as an opera singer. One of the biggest problems I found was that I could not find steady gigs or network with larger groups. Although Facebook and my personal contacts in the arts industry helped me, I found that I needed something more centralized and specialized. That's when I decided to create Hathart. I wanted to build a platform where artists could collaborate with each other and find work. With your help, I hope to grow Hathart into a one-stop shop for the arts and entertainment industry. Thank you for the support and please provide any feedback you can think of!"

Catherine Watts
Catherine WattsHow Using Emotions Can Make Your Artwork Viral