Stark in their simplicity yet full of character, Ganmu’s work perfectly exemplifies the idea that, sometimes, less is more. Relatively anonymous settings and nondescript characters make up her subject matter, but the consistent aesthetic and reoccurring elements of her work evoke a sense of familiarity with the characters. We watch as they navigate seemingly quotidian situations, made comical by Ganmu’s subtle injection of humour, exaggerating boredom or intrigue.
Graduating from the Beijing Film Academy where she studied 2D animation, she says: “When I was in college, I discovered a graphic novel by Hong Kong artist Chi Hoi and I realised then what it was that I wanted to express through my art. I wanted to capture emotional information in a safe area. Just the right amount of pain and confusion.”
Also influenced at the time by Japanese manga, she says this point of reference encouraged her to emphasise the contours of her illustrations. It gave her the ability to develop the dialogue and plot of each drawing as she figured out the composition. Taking these skills and a newly acquired iPad, Ganmu explains that she transitioned her artistic style to the realm of animation, which helped to enhance her ideas and capture “a relationship between emotions and the objective world.”
Switching between illustration and animation, her style remains the same, showcasing minimal details, basic forms and a limited colour palette. Only the contrast seems to change from medium to medium. With her static drawings demonstrating more attention to delicate, stippled shading, and her animations relying on black-white-colour block contrasts. Though, through the distinctive protagonists of her single-scene stories, both are immediately recognisable as her work.
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