“Blood Diary”: An Interview with Min Liu
MIN LIU is a Taiwanese animation artist/illustrator and tattoo artist. She earned her BA in 2010 from National Taiwan University in Taipei and her MFA in Computer Art with a concentration in 2D animation and motion graphics from the School of Visual Arts, NYC in 2013. She focuses on hand-drawn animation and explores the possibility of traditional animation with fine art. Her style is unique with a dark sense of humor.
K. Iver: How did you start making motion art?
Min Liu: I came to NYC studying computer art. I had a passion for graphic design when I was back in Taiwan and decided to follow my heart while graduating from accounting school. But after I came, I was introduced to motion graphics and I thought, “This is brilliant, there is something different when the design is in motion.” Then I saw an animation work by ShiShi Yamazaki and was so moved by that kind of organic hand drawn style, so I started focusing on that.
KI. Your 100-day Blood Diary project features three colors—red, black, and white—and a high-contrast, smooth craftsmanship. How did this project come about?
ML: I always love doing cel animation. After I finished a long-term project in 2015, I decided to take a break from work for a while and do what I really love. At that time, there was a trend on Instagram called #the100dayproject, where people do a thing for 100 days. It can be anything--drawing, photographing, cooking etc... So, I decided to do an animation every day for 100 days. I don't really have a big picture for this project, I guess I just want to push my insanity and see how far I can go. The combination of red, black and white is actually an accident. I used black for outlining, then used red as a placeholder at first. But after I finished the draft, I was fascinated with the beauty of the color palette, and I just went with that.
KI: Your work features many subjects, with some repeats: animals, food, and bodily appendages. What are your favorites?
ML: The cats for sure :) I also like the series of tiny me running on the toilet paper and a watch.
KI: You infuse some of the gore of these pieces with a sense of humor. How important is that to you?
ML: There’s an artist I like named Junji Ito, a Japanese manga artist who’s notorious for his disturbing horror stories. But if you read those, they were actually hilarious because the storyline was so ridiculous which was straight fucked up. I like something dark with a weird sense of humor.
KI: What does your process look like? Has it changed since the pandemic?
ML: While creating Bloody Dairy, I carried a sketchbook with me during that period. Whenever I saw something or thought of something interesting, I did a quick sketch. When I run out of ideas, I will go through the sketchbook. Now my creating process pretty much all starts from staring at a blank canvas and just doodling whatever comes to my mind.
KI: What was one of your biggest hurdles as an artist and how did you overcome it?
ML: I was lost a while ago with my style because now the information is so easily accessible, there are so many great animation artists out there and this affects my style subconsciously. I guess I was trying to follow the tren