Featured Image for The Co-Create Series: Yiying Lu’s illustration inspired by a gorilla that wanted to tickle the late, great Robin Williams
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The Co-Create Series: Yiying Lu’s illustration inspired by a gorilla that wanted to tickle the late, great Robin Williams

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For the Co-Create series, we’ve invited six of Australia’s most talented creative talents to produce original work exclusively for Lost At E Minor inspired by some of their favourite posts on the site and using only the Microsoft Surface Pro 3. In this installment, illustrator Yiying Lu, who has done artwork for Disney and Conan O’Brien, and is well-known as the creator of the ubiquitous Twitter Fail Whale, took inspiration from this post about a gorilla that wanted to tickle the late, great Robin Williams. These are her words about the creative process. [See Yiying Lu’s other Microsoft Surface Pro 3 created work here and here]

‘I deeply respect and was inspired by Robin Williams. This art piece is not only a tribute to Robin, who is one of my favorite comedians and actors, but also a tribute to love between human and nature.

‘Unlike the other three pieces, which are more fun and lighthearted, I envisioned this piece to be more reflective, as well as slightly more sentimental as Robin passed away this year. And I read the article on Koko’s devastated reaction towards the sad news.

‘I thought “I have to do a piece of art for this”. The art was being simplified a lot from the beginning to the finished piece.

‘During the time I was working on this piece, I decided to re-watch a lot of Robin’s movies and comedy shows, which inspired me over and over. I remember his profound words in his 1989 film, Dead Poets Society:

“We don’t read and write poetry because it’s cute. We read and write poetry because we are members of the human race. And the human race is filled with passion. And medicine, law, business, engineering, these are noble pursuits and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for. To quote from Whitman, ‘O me! O life!… of the questions of these recurring; of the endless trains of the faithless… of cities filled with the foolish; what good amid these, O me, O life?’ Answer: That you are here – that life exists, and identity; that the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. That the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse. What will your verse be?”

‘The artwork was done on the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 via sketching in Microsoft Fresh Paint and Adobe Photoshop, then was vectorized in Adobe Illustrator. I initially was working with colours, but later decided to use just black and white, which creates the figure and ground in a powerful way.

‘The composition was inspired by the symbol of Yin and Yang. I was interested in showing that Robin and Koko (Human and Nature) are interconnected and interdependent in the natural world, and also how they give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.

‘They are hugging each other, but also tickling each other in the art, and their forms grouped together as the shape of a heart’.

Robin  Williams and Koko illustration by Yiying Lu