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Cari Vander Yacht’s Mood Swings

Cari Van Der Yacht’s #ConnectedByLemonade commission.

Quirky and endlessly inventive, Cari Vander Yacht puts a unique spin on everyday life. Whether she’s drawing people pondering art in museums, or a skeleton eating yogurt, the artist and animator takes delight in small, strange moments. Lemonade spoke with her about Finnish inspirations and micro-expressions of anxiety and happiness.

Tell me about your Lemonade commission, and how you expanded upon the creative brief of a ‘pink drip.’

I do all my animation in Photoshop, frame by frame which is time consuming but ultimately rewarding. I got really into the liquid aspect of the drip—it always feels like a nice challenge to try to animate watery things. I liked the idea of it coming in and altering something and I figured: Why not alter a mood?

I’d love to hear about your work with the Society of Illustrators.

Oh yeah! I’m the chair for the annual awards this year which means that I choose the jury that will ultimately award medals and other accolades to whoever enters. There’s a new chair every year; next year will be Ping Zhu, who is going to be great in the role! The Society has been around for a long time and I think it’s rare for illustrators to have such a tangible, historical place. Unfortunately, because of the pandemic, we won’t all be able to party together at this year’s awards ceremony…all virtual!

You post a lot of terrific sketchbook images on your Instagram.

Oh why thank you! I love having time to sketch and stretch ideas. I did a fair amount of doodling for this [#ConnectedByLemonade] project, which really helped me understand how I wanted the final animation to look. It’s not always easy to find time to sketch on my own but luckily there’s a big communal table in the studio where my studiomates and I will hang out and draw together. Nice to have a little creative pod to chat ideas about and try to make each other laugh.

Who are some of your creative heroes?

Tove Jansson comes immediately to mind, mostly because I love Moomin and also because she built a simple little cabin on a remote Finnish island and made sure the windows faced north, west, south, and east. I always come back to Saul Steinberg’s work, and I love Beatrice Wood because she was the “Mama of Dada.”

How has this crazy pandemic year affected the way you make work ?

Oof, I know, what a doozy! I do seem to draw a lot more upset or anxious people. I’m really getting a lot of glee from drawing micro-expressions of anxiety and manic happiness, no doubt a complete reflection of the here and now.

What’s some specific advice you might offer to a young artist or illustrator who’s just starting out?

Try everything, get in over your head a little, don’t worry too much about the end result—just go with it!

Check out more of Cari Vander Yacht’s work here and on her Instagram, and don’t forget to follow #ConnectedByLemonade!



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