In a clear box, a figure bends its limbs to fit into the small space. The figure’s spread out toes press against one side of the box, turning blue where its skin meets the surface. Other parts of its body seem pink, almost with pain. This is the strange GIF created by Qieer Wang as part of her Utopia in Dystopia series, where she picked 12 disorders social issues to illustrate.
The figure trapped in the box above symbolizes depression. Other GIFs portray OCD, cosmetic surgery, ADHD and more. Wang sees the series as a playful way of approaching each theme — although that might seem like more of a dark humor or satirical twist.
She uses her Instagram page to share her pieces and work in progress shots in a diary-like format. Diving into her work requires a lot of concentration, not only to follow the strange animations and movements but to find a point of reference. No matter the medium, her figures always seem to have liquid limbs. Some parts of their bodies are freakishly large while others are eerily small. In the GIF format, this style comes through with even more intensity. It’s a format that she enjoys working with often.
Coming from a family with “quite a lot of designers and painters,” Wang sought to be creative from a young age. She remembers going to drawing classes during kindergarten. She loved Chinese traditional ink drawing and eventually grew to love manga and Cartoon Network. All these influences came together to shape her style.
“My favorite thing about the GIF format is its repetitiveness that describes the natural movement [sic] in cycles in quite a subtle way,” Wang writes in an email to The Creators Project.
“During the process of transforming text into moving images, I found it quite satisfying with its vivid language of speaking for my content,” writes Wang. Even while Wang’s content seems familiar — with human figures and common furniture as a basis — each animation decision and careful coloring creates an eerie, dream-like mood.
Wang’s work asks that we look closely at each detail even while the forms might seem strange or unsettling. Wang is the creator of a strange world that is forever unfurling — and only she knows its every turn.
To see more of Qieer Wang’s work, click here.