Chi Michalski's animated illustrations find beauty in our strange new reality

It's not an understatement to say the last year has been massively unusual. To help us see the bright side of the strange new world we've found ourselves in, thanks to the pandemic, Seattle-based illustrator and art director Chi Michalski has thought outside the box with her animated illustrations.

In her Cozy Box series of animated illustrations, Chi, AKA ChiChiLand has flipped the cooped up parameters of lockdown life on their head. Rather than being boundaries, boxes now frame joyful domestic activities like baking cakes, as well as those moments where we all felt connected to other people despite living far apart in separate houses.

Inspired in equal part by nature, urban culture and folk art, Chi has an ongoing fascination with new media and experiential arts. In Cozy Box, she has created "soft, happy worlds filled with characters and patterns that reflect my hope for a better society," she tells Creative Boom. "One where we live in harmony with nature and all living beings."

She adds: "2020 was a tough year. Between the global pandemic, inequality, political tensions, and a whole litany of other problems – most of us spent the better part of the year closed off, in our own spaces, separated from one another.

"Cozy Box was born out of the desire to find beauty and solace in this strange new reality – to remember all the little things that bring us joy and keep them close – in our own little boxes."

The whole set feels suitably quirky and surreal, yet doesn't lean on obvious visual cues to get its point across. And as if that wasn't impressive enough, Chi has managed to find an oddly reassuring angle on the bizarre world of post-pandemic life.


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