Yellow Sticky Notes

A charming animation by a group of Canadian illustrators inspired by their to-do lists scribbled on Post-it notes.

Post-it notes are ubiquitous, and despite the rise of digital note-keeping, they are not going anywhere. Besides their convenient adhesive nature, they allow us to externalise our inner compass in the form of to-do lists. However, when they dominate our lives, what is the effect on our thoughts?

When animator Jeff Chiba Stearns made his first film about these scraps of paper in 2007, he sought to demonstrate how the context of his life, as dictated by to-do lists, seemed to alienate him from the concerns of the world at large. 

Through his Meditating Bunny Studio in Vancouver, Canada, Chiba Stearns has made multiple animations and commercials, as well as the award-winning feature documentary One Big Hapa Family (2010).

He returned to the subject matter of Post-it notes this year with “Yellow Sticky Notes: Canadian Anijam”, a collaboration with 15 of his countrymen. In doing so, he’s created a chaotic mindscape that highlights the disconnect between our plans and realities, and shows how our perceptions colour our everyday lives.

The animators were asked to base their contributions on a to-do list written on a significant day. Their individual responses are personal, emotional, funny and revealing. By representing internal monologues in hand-drawn stop-motion, there are no slick tricks to hide behind – the product is charmingly raw.