Diyala Muir illustrates the chaos within our heads. “I am fascinated by that line where your external and internal merge”, she explains. “How your emotions and thoughts then affect your interpretation of the outside world”.
Her scratchy, loose illustrations are playfully transferred into short animations that brilliantly blend fantasy and reality. The characters anxieties and demons flow from their minds into the everyday, creating surreal and absurd scenes that are both humorous and relatable. Her shorts mix daydreams, nightmares, paranoia and observations into a compelling narrative, that we cannot tear our eyes away from.
“I have a cathartic relationship with my art”, comments Diyala Muir. It’s a release that she needs to keep her sane. When she draws from observation, the artist puts her own essence into what she see’s, framing the world as she wants it. However, as Diyala moves forward with her work, it is slowly becoming more abstract, utilising colour and form. Her illustrations fizz and burst with yellows, oranges and pink.
Diyala is influenced by horror films and the supernatural writing of Shirley Jackson. “I never intentionally set out to make my animation funny”, she explains. However, horror and humour merge, and it is this surreal absurdity that makes her work so comical.
“I used to draw a lot from life, especially when travelling”, the artist tells us. “Doing this helped me develop a strong line and clear communication with my tools, so that now when I draw, I don’t have to think about it”. Diyala’s illustrations are expressive and free; she allows her hand to dictate what pops into her head and those feelings flow out onto the page. “I like to work organically. I don’t want to think or plan too much”, she comments. “I hate overthinking things, it kills the joy”.
Diyala is a self-professed messy person. “I can’t do perfect illustrations; it’s not who I am as a person. I love texture; I don’t like things that are pretty”, she tells us. Her smudges and charcoal blemishes add a whimsical charm and character to her animations that make them all the more lovable. It is precisely this duality of existential angst and child-like, messy drawings that make her illustrations so honest and raw. They are serious, but fun, therefore, instantly relatable.