Qianhui Yu's sugar-coated animations carry a severe message

It's hard to take your eyes off Qianhui Yu's seductive animations. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art last year, the animation director, illustrator and visual designer has developed a knack for creating candy-colored worlds and populating them with fascinating characters.

Yu was born and raised in China. As a child he loved to draw. While studying New Media Art at the China Academy of Art as a teenager, she began to realize the power of the moving image to express her ideas.

"I had my first chance to approach animation during my studies, which made it clear to me that I wanted to keep working like this," she tells CR.

Yu moved to London from China in 2019 to study animation at the RCA. "It was a tremendous culture shock for me to live here alone, and it is definitely the most creative city I've ever lived in. The RCA is full of exceptionally talented students and tutors who are very inspiring," she says.

"I also had more freedom to work on the things I like and it was really exciting to have enough time to manage an entire animation project and build my own imaginary animated worlds."

Since graduating, Yu has refined her unique visual language, inspired by cantopop music videos to traditional Chinese animation she saw as a child, to the work of individual artists like Lu Yang.

The animator's use of sugar-coated color palettes, ultra-cute characters, and a surreal aesthetic is cleverly juxtaposed with the serious subjects she addresses in her work.

This approach is most evident in her final project, Wastopia. The short animated film examines the problems related to the global attitude towards environmental waste and takes the viewer on a visual journey to an otherworldly place where the products of what people throw away live.

The idea for Wastopia came from a deeply personal place for Yu, who began to think more about the impact of human waste after delving into the internet's obsession with & # 39; Mukbang & # 39; live stream videos in which a person eats large amounts of food in front of him An audience.

“It was through this whole phenomenon that I realized how little I worried about food waste,” says the animator. “Then I broadened my approach to examine the natural damage caused by the garbage we throw away due to overconsumption. I started to wonder what if the wasted food and trash had feelings? "

What comes next is Yu's plan to take on more contract work while continuing to develop her unique visual style. Most importantly, she wants to use her creative platform to create work that addresses some of the big problems of our time.

"Global warming isn't the only thing to worry about. Pollution and food waste are just some of the other damages to humanity that are scorching and ruining the earth," she says.

“However, the devastating effects of the digital age, demanding food production and melting glaciers are something that most people don't see every day. There are still many things that we have to learn. "