Exhibitionists

Dying is easy; comedy (and animation) is hard

Making people smile is one serious challenge, but Sitji Chou is on it. Get happy and check out his GIFs!

Making people smile is one serious challenge, but Sitji Chou is on it. Get happy and check out his GIFs!

Sitji Chou is the Exhibitionist in Residence this week, and we're feeling pretty good about it. (Courtesy of the artist)

Choose happy. In life, and in art, that O Magazine maxim is more challenging than it seems.

Sitji Chou, this week's Exhibitionist in Residence, is a 29-year-old animator from Vancouver, and though the GIFs he's sharing with you on this week's program express more emotions than a soap star on E — Love! Anger! Despair! — the Emily Carr grad says that there's one feeling that he now wants to capture more than anything else.

"I'm trying to make more joyful work," says Chou. Inspired by outsider art, Chou says he's pushing his already buoyant style toward a more naive, graphical look — and since the GIFs we'll be airing range from 2011 to the present, see if you can catch that cheerful evolution taking place.

It's harder to make someone smile than to make them feel bad.- Sitji Chou, artist

When it comes to making GIFs like the ones below, Chou says that one of his goals is just making people happy, but that choice isn't some random act of animated kindness — it's a serious challenge.

Says the artist: "I think it's harder to make someone smile than to make them feel bad." Or put it this way: "Telling a good joke is much harder than telling someone that, you know, water levels are rising," he laughs. Reality is plenty grim on its own.

Feel some feels by checking out the GIFs below, and find more of Chou's work on Tumblr and Instagram. The animator's currently developing a couple in-depth extra-curricular projects, including a self-published comic (Boy and Buoy) and Lo Po Beng (Wife Cake), an animated short he's making with fellow Vancouverite filmmaker H. Kristen Campbell. That one's a mysterious story about a young woman's trip to Hong Kong. Both projects are due out later this year.

Oh joy! GIFs!

(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)
(Courtesy of the artist)

Watch CBC Arts: Exhibitionists online or on CBC Television. Tune in Fridays at 11:30 p.m. (midnight NT) and Sundays at 3:30pm (4 p.m. NT).

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