A few days ago my friend Adam Jonah—a fantastically expressive artist and generally curious soul— released the first episode of his new cartoon/animation series DISRUPTO. The series explores how individuals come to embrace their truth in a world that rewards conformity.
The first episode opens with free-spirit Addy growing up in nature, eating healthy snacks, and navigating the creative and philosophical hurdles that come with education. After a few early refusals to give in to social pressure, Addy makes his way to "Creativity University"— a place that supposedly encourages and amplifies freedom of expression. To his surprise, though, CU ends up being a hotbed of conformity and host to a number of ethical dilemmas.
Can a company really be successful if it destroys peoples' health?
Is it right to think of yourself in terms of a functional role?
Is there a right time to let go of your own values?
And these are just a few of the questions that I had in mind while reading.
But a few other things I want to point out:
1. the format
The first episode reads like a children's book (big, colorful pictures, memorable dialogue) and for that reason resonates with people pretty much of all ages/backgrounds. It's something where "everyone has something to hold onto." That's the best way to put it.
2. the message
DISRUPTO shows the success of a character who sticks to their values. In too many stories having a strong value system is a prerequisite to martyrdom, but here it's the beginning of a very positive and successful (new) approach to life. It's a message that's very different from the usual "follow your heart but be prepared to take a hit for it"...
3. the small details
Addy stays in painting class but never paints the same thing. The selective use of backgrounds. The color shift from bright and happy in nature to the grey and drab at Creativity University. The varied types of characters and how they all seem to have the same form sense.
I mean, I could go on all day about this stuff, but the main thing that I think is so poignant about this specific work is that it captures a lot of the questions that we forget to ask but it reminds us in a way that is uplifting, fun, and not at all preachy. Everyone I've showed this to (which now must be upwards of 10 or 15 people in person) just gets it. It's a very I never thought about that kind of feeling, and that's awesome to be able to share that with people.
To conclude, what really has been captured here is art without ego. It's something that draws from the experience of the artist, but doesn't make the presentation of that experience the thing that is presented. It draws from the experience... and then takes it one step farther— housing it within a charming visual world and a broader question about what exactly it is that feels true to you... and how you can work on getting there.
A lot to think about here. Worth following.