I came across Ray Lei while reading about an upcoming art show in Beijing put on by the Creator Project (a pretty cool globally oriented, new media focused series of exhibitions). His animations have a kind of collage effect. Some parts are drawn, others appear cut from pictures or magazines. The background often warps around foreground characters as the camera appears to move in and out of impossible locations. It all makes for a pretty cool aesthetic. This video from the Creator Project gives a good overview.
In the video he says he strives to make uniquely Chinese inspired art. The most interesting example of this to me is his work focused around Chinese cities. Several of his works focus on images of modern city life, my favorite is the short City, Village, City.
Lei’s earlier piece The Face, presents a more dystopic urban China. The piece rails against conformity, social manipulation, and greed. Less stylized than his others, and more identifiable as anime, it is still perhaps his most compelling.
Border Project is another piece with activist undertones. Focused on the crossing between mainland China and Hong Kong at Shenzen, it shows people living amongst the restrictions and edifices of the border. On his website Lei says the border “disturbs citizen’s lives, and pretty much blocks the transportation of goods and people.”
Most of Lei’s work, however, seems to stick to the imaginative. Psychedelic ping-pong, rain-clouds that become hair-pieces, and planets alongside city streets are all par for the course. His newest video is an airport love story involving ice-skating and French-inspired music. All his work can be found on his website or his vimeo site.