As an accountancy student in Taipei, Min Liu always saw herself going into a career in finance. Then one day, she randomly picked up the portfolio of Aaron Nieh’s – a famous Taiwanese graphic designer – at a bookstore. “It changed my life. It felt like I found something I always wanted to do.”
Min started from scratch; she self-studied basic software, applied for the School of Visual Arts in New York and moved to the States. At first she focused on graphic design in the broadest sense of the word, “but the more I learned, I realized that animation is the media which helps me tell my story.”
And she is right – every simple gif tells its own tale. Min’s work is full of surprising choices; she takes an everyday situation, like putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, and flips it completely on its head.
After graduating in 2013, Min stayed in New York. “There are a lot of great artists and designers in Taiwan and the field of motion graphics is booming at the moment,” she explains.” However, I pretty much developed my career as an animator after I came here. After five years I still feel there are so many things I haven’t experienced yet, so I want to stay to learn more!”
The artist focuses on cel animation, where you draw out each frame by hand, before playing them quickly in sequence. The technique is a lot more time-intensive than computer animation, but it creates a unique sensibility which is hard to recreate digitally.
Most of the time, Min only uses black, white and red in her work. It stems from her participation in #The100DayProject, an Instagram challenge that encourages you to make something for 100 days, whether your passion is cooking, singing or animating.
“When I was doing this project, I had a very intense timeline to make one animation per day. I had to upload it before midnight, which left me no time to overthink it.” The color combination she hit upon was actually an accident. “But after I finished the draft, I was fascinated with the violent beauty of the color palette, so I decided to keep using it.”
The colors and the oddball content work together perfectly to produce animations full of humor. And not unlike her real life, they’re filled with unexpected plot twists.