FLOWER MOUND, Texas — Alissa Teo, a mother of three from Flower Mound, Texas, finds relaxation in art. It's her quiet time after a busy day. But she never expected her hobby to make her a TikTok and Instagram sensation.
In January 2021, she saw people on social media making tossed rice art and wanted to try it, too. Alissa started dying white rice in different colors, arranging it on a board, and tossing it up while recording.
In just a few seconds, her hours of hard work disappear, but it's captured in a slow motion moment on video.
Alissa started posting the videos for her friends and family. After downloading TikTok and sharing her first few pieces of rice art, she went viral within two weeks.
"Who would have thunk me and my little iPhone would come this far with art pieces?" she said humbly with a smile. "I have no idea how."
She uses three simple tools: Dixie cups for each color of rice, a ruler, and a pair of tweezers.
After she tosses up her art, Alissa makes sure the rice is never wasted.
"I'll collect it all back in a bin, and I'll either re-dye it and reuse it for my next art piece, or I'll recollect it and package it up in a cute little package," she described. "I create these fun sensory bins for kids in my local area."
Alissa has an occupational therapy background and used rice often with patients. Now, as an emerging modern artist, Alissa is able to continue using rice as a gift, and create sensory bins for children for free.
From her first few pieces to now, Alissa has seen her work improve. She said her viewers not only enjoy seeing the successful toss-ups, but they also like seeing the ones that fail.
"I think people like to see the real life, not just perfection, but what makes it unique," Alissa said.