Rafael Varona

Rafael Varona


American politics are in a terrible, terrible, terrible, terrrrrible state. It is winter. Life is hard. Sure you could sit in a pit of deep, deep despair, but let's take a cue from musicals, shall we? Why not. La La Land has just swept the Golden Globes. Let's all pretend we have the energy to go on. Let's lose ourselves in the silly, daydreamy, technically brilliant wonderland of the Berlin- and Amsterdam-based illustrator and animator Rafael Varona. This self proclaimed "loopoholico" has magic in him. He can distill the charm of an entire Gene Kelly dance number into a single gif.


Just look at this joyous personal work promoting his portfolio: 


How can you be sad after watching that lady with the blue hair dance?

Below you'll find Rafael's magnum opus. Over the last few years, the artist has gathered quite a following for his work imagining worlds trapped in tiny jars. 


Each jar is packed with scenery, story, and character. Please take a moment to get lost in all the detail.


Rafael's Peruvian roots seep through to the work. Incan culture fascinates him. 

"I love the beautiful golden Mama Killa statues. 'Mama killa' means mother moon in quechua."


Chaos contained. 

Goodness! How fun is it to see his sketches for the gifs above? Rafael is quick to say the process of creating these worlds is a journey. The end product is a surprise.

You can totally sense the challenges Rafael sets for himself within each loop. 


Such detail! Such complexity!

Books take center stage in many of his illustrations.

Rafael recently worked with the agency Vruchtvlees and a museum of literature in The Hague, Netherlands, to portray the life of the Dutch writer Remco Campert within six gifs:  

Ahhhh, so lovely.

If only we could live in one of his glass bottle worlds. 


Before you jump back to reality, follow Rafael on Instagram:


Or follow him on facebook.

Kaye Blegvad

Kaye Blegvad

Martín Elfman

Martín Elfman