Toronto artist Ginette Lapalme will make you nostalgic for the days of Rugrats

“Anything can move in a cartoon world," and Ginette Lapalme's child-like illustrations jump off the page with colour. The Sudbury-raised, Toronto-based artist is this week's Exhibitionist in Residence.

Ginette Lapalme is this week's Exhibitionist in Residence

“Anything can move in a cartoon world," and Ginette Lapalme's child-like illustrations jump off the page with colour. The Sudbury-raised but Toronto-based artist is this week's Exhibitionist in Residence. (Ginette Lapalme)

Saturday morning cartoons and a box of Crayola markers. For so many kids, that right there is a winning combo, second only to PB&J. It's the makings of an ideal weekend for plenty of grown-ups, as well. Or maybe that's just us, because when the CBC Arts team got a look at Ginette Lapalme's animated GIFs we were flashing back to childhood lazy days, full of arts-and-crafts and VHS marathons. And that's not just because certain creations look just like Barbapapas

 …or Arthur's bratty kid sister.

"I've always been obsessed with watching cartoons. Cartoons were the thing I was obsessed with as a kid and what I wanted to draw — like Rugrats or Pokemon or whatever," Lapalme tells CBC Arts.

"When I am doing illustration I'm always borrowing from a lot of old cartoons as well, or at least I feel that way. Like borrowing from that language."

Toronto artist Ginette Lapalme released Confetti, a collection of her sculptures, comics and illustrations, in May 2015. (Koyama Press)

Last year, the Sudbury-raised, Toronto-based artist published a book called Confetti, and it gives an idea of just how eclectic her practice can be — collecting her paintings, and sculptures and comics. (Lapalme's part of a local comic-book collective, Wowee Zonk, with Chris Kuzma and Patrick Kyle.)

The former OCAD student doesn't consider herself an animator quite yet. "I'm still in GIF mode," she demurs, but making something grander than tumblr-ready 3-second loops seems inevitable. Maybe it's just the Jell-O hues of her bright-eyed characters, at once sweet but subversive, that makes them seem capable of jiggling off the page. Jewellery or illustrations or stickers: whatever she makes seems full of movement, just like cartoons — especially, she says, the old ones. The really old ones. 1930s Fleischer cartoons, like Betty Boop, for example, the kind you could score on cheap-o VHS tapes way back in the '90s.

Put several rings on it. Jewellery by Ginette Lapalme. (Ginette Lapalme/

"I love the rhythm of old cartoons, the bobbiness," says Lapalme. "There are things that are animated that shouldn't be animated," like a clock coming to life — playful details within the universe of the story. "Anything can move in a cartoon world."

On Sunday, Exhibitionists will be airing some of the GIFs that Lapalme's been posting to her website since last spring. "All of my animations are super tiny," she says, and she means that literally. They're drawn on scraps of paper, just one-inch squared.

Preview a bunch of them below, and find more from Ginette Lapalme at her website and on Exhibitionists. You can catch her episode online or Sunday at 4:30 (5pm NT) on CBC Television.

Are you our next Exhibitionist in Residence? E-mail CBC Arts and your work could appear on the next episode of Exhibitionists!


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