It has perhaps become obvious this week that we’re all a little emoji-obsessed. The announcement of the huge new batch of the little iPhone cartoons has inspired everything from glee to ire — but we still can’t stop using them, talking about them, and even psychoanalyzing ourselves with them. Los Angeles-based graphic designer Liza Nelson has noticed our wacky dependency on them, too — but she took it a step further with her Emoji IRL.LOL project.
In what she referred to in an email to Bustle as “both a mockery and a tribute to the individual characters that have become so much more to our culture than tiny pictures on an iPhone screen,” Emoji IRL.LOL. takes the little images we know and love (and hate, and love to hate) and brings them to life. From pounding fists to eggplants and everything in between, the images of Emoji IRL.LOL are at once worshipful and irreverent, random and pointed, and, of course, totally hilarious.
“We seriously think and speak in emoji now, and it hit me one day that we are taking this new form of communication for granted,” Nelson wrote to Bustle. “We think texting back and forth for hours with tiny pictures of poop and floppy disks and tongues is normal, like we’ve doing this forever. And the crazy thing,” she added, “is, we truly are expressing incredibly real and raw emotions with these things. Over the past year or two I’ve had hundreds of ‘deep’ conversations with friends and fellow creative revolving around emojis.”
Because it’s become habit to associate certain emojis, Nelson felt they were “begging to be brought to life.” “I dreamed of seeing the dancer in the red dress walking down the street with her arm up in the air. I’m always interested in art and design that’s tangible — that you can reach out and touch and walk around,” she told Bustle. “I wanted to experiment with taking emojis completely out of their everyday context and analyzing them as beautiful individual subjects with depth to them, and see if people would still recognize them and understand their meaning at a glance.”
She’s named them all too, of course; every good work of art needs an equally good name. My personal favorite? This one:
It’s titled, “Bitch, Please.” And the fact that we can communicate that in the space of one picture? Is kind of awesome. Weird… but awesome.
Check out the whole series over at the Emoji IRL.LOL Tumblr!
Images: Courtesy Liza Nelson/Emoji IRL.LOL Tumblr