Yukai Du – Illustration and Animation
The works of Chinese illustrator and animator Yukai Du, currently based in London, are a reflection of today’s addiction to digital and especially mobile technology, highlighting its consequences on human relationships and behavior. The virtual world gradually absorbs the physical reality, as devices take full control over the life of every user. Freedom is only an illusion fed by smartphones and gadgets, while intimacy, friendship, empathy or privacy have ceased to exist as they once were, in what feels like a continuous downgrade of social values, with a direct impact on education, culture and all levels of communication.
What people do not realize, in their rush for money to buy objects, satisfy endless desires and manufactured needs, is the nature of their connection with the other and the environment, which becomes more and more fragile as we blindly advance in a digital era, with new rules to follow and new ideals that may at the end cost us more than we can offer after possibly loosing things of greater importance. However, we have immersed ourselves so deep into this mindset that we can hardly raise our eyes and see beyond the small screens.
“‘Way out’, inspired by ‘Alone Together’ by Sherry Turkle, is a reflection of modern life in this digital age. The exaggerated contrast between emotionless citizens and characterized phones reveals our over-dependence on virtual communication. A dramatic and extreme consequence shows a negative attitude, for which no one can escape the trend of technology that originally comes from the endless appetence of human beings”.
‘Musical Chairs’ / “This animation is based on a familiar game — Musical Chairs. The main character in this animation represents the human race. The human, in his selfish ways, discovers that he can’t bear the consequences of his own actions. This animation is also trying to depict a society in which people constantly want to get more and more to fulfill their insatiable desires. Maybe the humans win, but perhaps they lose something of greater importance.”
Design / Animation: Yukai Du, Ya Tang. Music: Jingfei Wang
‘Dinner Time’ double-page illustration for Nobrow 9: It’s Oh So Quite. “It shows the silence in a dinner that people only care about what is going on in the mobile screens.”
Part of ‘World’s New Clothes’ 4-page comic, which “reveals people’s modern life in a parallel way. This comic was inspired by the classic story ‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’ which was about pretension masking a lack of substance. It is also the winning comic of Nobrow Competition in 2013 Comica Festival.”
Images © Yukai Du