We're all familiar with those small yet frustrating moments in life. The one day you don't bring an umbrella, it rains. You swear you see a UFO but nobody else bothers to look up. You're surfing the web and you get stuck in a sea of endless pop-up ads. These harmless annoyances plague us all, yet nobody seems to have captured them as well as Berlin-based artist Lisette Berndt (aka Thoka Maer).
In her aptly named Tumblr, "It's No Biggie," Berndt chronicles these frustrations through a series of hilarious animated GIFs. As she explained to The Huffington Post in a recent e-mail, "The exciting thing for me is, and was, that a GIF has a very limited time and also limited space. So I was challenged to tell something as brief and pointed as possible." She has captured that exquisitely, each drawing is perfectly detailed and each action so precise and on point.
Berndt reminds us that we must laugh at ourselves (again and again and again) as we encounter these seemingly endless series of trivial events. We had the pleasure of corresponding with the German artist about her project; her answers are below.
The Huffington Post: Where do your ideas for the "no biggie" animations come from?
Berndt: Usually I behold something, or something happens to myself [and] the idea just pops into my mind between taking a shower and brushing teeth. So it is very spontaneous and I love that very much.
HP: How do you create the animations?
Berndt: The animations are made by a classical frame by frame animation. I draw each frame with a pencil, which I later colorize.
HP: How long have you been working on this particular project?
Berndt: I actually don't remember exactly how I came up with the idea, but I started it in summer 2011. In the beginning I had the idea for the boy swimming after the ball. And after it was finished and I had tremendously fun making it, I came up with the idea of the burka-wearing woman and the girl with the umbrella. All of them I put on my blog with the title "Episodes of Life."
The domain episodesoflife.tumblr.com was taken already, so I had to come up with another name. That's how "it's no biggie" was born. Now I make a new "biggie[s]" when I can spare some time.
HP: Do you have a favorite animated work?
Berndt: Not really. For me, each "biggie" (thats [what] I call them) has a little story. The fact that it comes without words or a title makes it easy to understand and interpret by every person of every age in every country. And this is what I like most right now. For example, the idea behind the one with the guy and the heads on sticks was to illustrate the "Politische Gesichtslosigkeit" (which is German and hard to translate. It means you change your mind, claims, testimonials as it is required, especially in a political context. Verbatim would mean "facelessness".) But the GIF popped up on quite some Jasmine Revolution blogs. I guess because the heads had some similarities with Arabic dictator faces.
Another funny one is the "I love/ I Occupy"-one. My idea behind that was to illustrate the mindless adopting of trends like wearing "I love anything" things. The Occupy movement inherent something similar, at least in Germany and especially in Berlin. Everybody without any idea and nothing to do took part and demonstrated a little bit. Which was quite a shame, but which made it also worth to turn it into a GIF. After it was online, it showed up on Occupy blogs :) I loved that! Anyway, as you can see, the stories behind them are pretty long and better told in a GIF.
The other ones I just like for what they are. They show something most of us know or have seen by oneself. Situations which are funny or annoying, but never really worth talking about it. I think it's nice to worship these little moments of life by turning them into GIFs.