What If?

"What if rainbows sprouted from the ground?"

If you could make the “what ifs” in your life come true, what would you wish for?

That’s the question posed by Chinese illustrator Zhai Yanjun, better known by his pen name, Xiaomin Lao’er. In his What If comics, which he draws late each night, a bald, bearded man with thick-framed glasses and an anxious look on his face explores every conceivable situation, making up for the shortcomings of real life.


如果你的人生有 “如果”,你最想要哪种结果?

在插画师小民老二(本名翟砚军)每个深夜描绘出的这些《如果》里,一个带着黑框眼镜、一脸浓密络腮胡、头顶透露一丝中年焦虑的男人游走于各种可能里,弥补着来自现实的缺角。

"What if you could breathe underwater?"
"What if you had amnesia?"

As a child, Zhai often accompanied his parents to work, where he’d draw to help pass the time. Little did he know, art would become a life calling.

Nowadays, much of his time is spent drawing, reading, and taking quiet walks. While he enjoys socializing and mingling with others, his attitude is more that of an observer than a participant. “For everyday scenes, I just need an idea, an impression, and my mind will naturally react. My imagination does the rest, and it might end up becoming a drawing.”


从小跟着大人上班的经历 ,让小民老二为了打发时间而拿起画笔,从此便一发不可收拾。日常的他会静静画画、看书,没事的时候出去散散步。他乐于参与那些街巷烟火,不刻意与人群保持距离,但他的生活态度更倾向是一个观察者,而非参与者,“对于这些世俗景象,有了概念和印象就够了,内心自然会有反应。剩下的交给想像力,最后有可能会变成画。”

"What if you could turn invisible?"
"What if you didn't need sleep?"
"What if you had a USB slot for your brain?"
"What if you could start your life over?"

Zhai has spent much of his life in Kunming, the City of Eternal Spring. People there are seldom busy, know how to enjoy themselves, and always seem to have time and money to spare. “It’s a good place to retire,” he laughs. Even though he’s in his 30s, the slow pace makes him feel more like he belongs to his parents’ generation. Maybe the source of his gentle style lies in the fact that he has no illusions and accepts the world as it is. “The What If comics are like a series of hypotheticals for myself,” he explains. “Mostly I draw things I wish I could change, things that float above my everyday life. It’s an outlet for impossible fantasies, like being invisible or flying. Everyone has those.”


长期生活在昆明这个四季如春的城市里,人们不是很忙,喜欢吃喝玩乐,而且总有闲工夫和闲钱,他笑称这是一个 “适合养老的地方”,这种慢节奏的生活状态也常常让 80 后的小民老二觉得自己属于爸妈那一辈,更像一个 60 年代的人。 也许他作品中的那份平和正来自这里,对现实了然于心、却也坦然接受。“《如果》就像我对自己的假设,很多都是遗憾,它们浮在日常生活之上,是个胡思乱想的出口。就好像现实中我不可能隐身,也不会飞,每个人都是这样。”

What if you had supernatural powers?
"What if you were in the triad?"
"What if you were serving a life sentence?"
"What if you met an alien?"

Weibo: ~/小民老二
Douban~/小民老二

 

Contributor: Shou Xing


微博: ~/小民老二
豆瓣~/小民老二

 

供稿人: Shou Xing