With his collection of delightful three-dimensional GIFs, the illustrator Dain Fagerholm creates whimsical universes that are both wondrous and terrifying. Filled with monsters reminiscent of Maurice Sendak’s “wild things,” the precious animations exist in a space caught between childhood nightmares and dreams. The artist draws each by hand, and the illusion of three-dimensionally of the work is expressed by a fast-paced alternating between a few images drawn from similar but differing perspectives.
Fagerholm’s lovely work is infused with a playful sense of anxiety; his characters, both human and otherwise, curl on the ground of tightly enclosed spaces like affrighted children. Wide-eyed and appearing to move manically back and forth, they hold their knees close to their chest. In these strange, surreal narratives, we are invited to feel the claustrophobia of a time out, recalling the lonesomeness and isolation of being bound to our rooms. One girl seems to be trapped within a TV screen, seemingly sucked into a blue, static-filled haze by her own imagination, peering curiously and excitedly outward.
These sweet, solitary creatures play and daydream in a dark state of nighttime unease. A seven-headed dragon evokes images of the beast from the biblical text Revelations, recalling (in an unexpectedly adorable way) frightful notions of eternity and punishment. As if pulled from films like The Shining or Poltergeist, Fagerholm’s characters transcend the real world, reaching instead for a chaotic, nervous aesthetic. With eyes dazed like hypnotic spirals, these little monsters seem to wait impatiently for sunrise and open air, for someone to keep them company. (via Demilked)
In a world of online matchmaking and social media, the artist Noortje de Keijzer offers a simpler option: an art piece and product entitled My Knitted Boyfriend, a knit pillowcase that comes to life when stuffed. In this witty critique of modern dating and expectations, My Knitted Boyfriend eliminates all the messy parts of a human relationship, conforming to individual preferences; he will enjoy whatever you enjoy, and he “can be adjusted to your own tastes” with the use of accessories like facial hair, tattoos, or glasses.
Although humorous in its somewhat cynical outlook on modern love, the piece is unexpectedly sentimental. The boyfriend himself comes along with an illustrated book narrating the story of de Keijzer and her cuddly lover, much like children’s picture books that include a stuffed animal. Also like a children’s storybook, the text and illustration follows a simple, nostalgic format: we are told that they “sleep together” and are offered an innocent sketch of the pair doing just that. The boyfriend, though he is not real, becomes a precious manifestation of the fictional—or imaginary—friend that enchants the young mind.
Complicating the delightfully sweet story of the artist and her beau is the work’s clever take on the domestic theme. As seen in her charming short film, the relationship is build not around professional ambition or the public realm; instead, they eat breakfast and watch movies. In fact, the man himself is knitted and therefore associated with the home. This 1950s-style domestic romanticism is brilliantly complicated and subverted by the fact that the male and not the female here is the homemaker; in place of the mid-century ideal of the perfect wife, My Knitted Boyfriend is that crucial element that makes a house a home. In the artist’s own astute words to her knitted partner, “You fit in my interior perfectly.” (via Design Boom)