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Artist Dain Fagerholm tells us about the “Mystery Planet” that inspires his hand-drawn images of oddly charming monsters and children.
Here at the Daily Dot, we swap GIF images with each other every morning. Now we’re looping you in. In the Morning GIF, we feature a popular—or just plain cool—GIF we found on Reddit, Canvas, or elsewhere on the Internet.
Dain Fagerholm’s fascinating GIFs begin as hand-drawn images of charming, if disconcerting, monsters and children.
“These ’characters’ are all creatures that live on Mystery Planet,” Fagerholm told the Daily Dot. “They are my friends.”
The Seattle artist studied digital design at the Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles and started uploading his work to Flickr about three years ago. More recently, he’s taken to Tumblr, where his work has been picked up by Reddit, BuzzFeed, and Gizmodo.
Using a revolving cast of vaguely Sendakian monsters and a small, blue girl, he plays repeatedly with themes of alienation, independence, identity, and loneliness. Is the girl, being human, more sympathetic than the monsters, each going through an apparent existential crisis? Or is her Mona Lisa smile an assurance that all is well on her little island if isolation? Or a sign of derangement?
The obliqueness of the drawings is a part of their appeal. As well, they are all drawn by hand, the idiosyncratic pen strokes as distinctive as the artist’s fingerprint, humanizing what might be, in purely digital format, something chilling indeed.
“The stereoscopic process is very simple but it is more fun for me to keep it a mystery,” Fagerholm said. “The original drawing on paper is the most important part of my gifs.”
His first Blue Girl GIF, featured below, has achieved an even 3100 notes on Tumblr and is still not his most popular drawing. And perhaps his most disturbing.
Lorraine Murphy is an Ottawa-based cybersecurity journalist and founding editor of the Cryptosphere. She has a keen interest in WikiLeaks and web culture, and her bylines have appeared in Salon, Vanity Fair, Serious Eats, and elsewhere.