Jason Phu

Instagram: @titsmcgee66

Jason Phu works across installation, painting and performance. Recently he has shown in the Dobell Drawing Biennale (2018) at the Art Gallery of New South Wales, The Burrangong Affray (2018) at the 4A Centre for Contemporary Asian Art, Primavera 2018: Young Australian Artists at the Museum of Contemporary Art and was commissioned by the Sydney Opera House for the 2019 Art Assembly commission. He is represented by Station Gallery (Melbourne) and Chalk Horse (Sydney).

Original Action


My action is a reworking of some of the stories I grew up with. Many of them were folktales that had moral lessons serving different purposes. Now, some of my favourite folktales are 公案 Gong An (not to be confused with Gong An Fiction), which are 禅 Chan Buddhist records structured like folktales that monks used to spark enlightenment by use of absurdity and contradiction to uncover “the truth”. I have created several of these stories to better reflect issues in our contemporary life, they are a sort of anti-folktale that also address some of the fallacies of old folktales. My inspirations range from 5th Century 禅 Chan texts to sci-fi comics to memes. Many religions including Chan Buddhism have undergone these sorts of modernisations throughout history and I am using animation as a vehicle because I feel it is the most accessible form of information consumption today. I have used apps that are easy to learn (many are made for kids) and free (through the privilege of working on a Mac) to make these “animations”. I hope that after watching these, people will want to animate their own 公案 Gong An, folktales, or even just fun stories.

Big thanks to Chloe Kim @chloekimyj for making the drum tracks on each video.


“Every Gong An is inherently about nothing, and is not secretly full of meaning. Unless you find some meaning, then let me know.”

Made with: Folioscope (App), iMovie

Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj

Voice: Jason Phu


“Sometimes old things are good. Sometimes old things are bad.”

Made with: Note pad, Pen, iMovie, Youtube clip

Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj


“Everyone will have a different interpretation of a Gong An, but it doesn’t mean you have to tell everyone else about it.”

Made with: Muvimi (App), iMovie, Youtube clips

Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj


“When you think you understand a Gong An that is the furthest point you can be from understanding it. It is like kicking a ball at someone and hitting them with it and thinking they appreciate you knocking their soda out of their hand.”

Made with: Plotagon (App), iMovie

Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj


“It is better to not listen to a Gong An rather than to listen to it. Like hearing a mosquito at night. Very annoying.”

Made with: Stop Motion (App), Plasticine, Cardboard, Paper, iMovie
Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj
Voice: Me


“Be kind.”

Made with: Toontastic (App), iMovie
Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj


“Destroy everything.”

Made with: Paper, Pastel, iMovie
Drums: Chloe Kim @chloekimyj
Voice: Mum



Penrith Regional Gallery, 2022

Go Deeper


3 cartoons I love

2 books to read to just do it

Take Action


Make a 1 minute animation, don’t obsess over details, just make until you hit a minute, don’t spend over 2 hours on it, and then show someone, and then maybe go back and fix some stuff, or better yet just make something else. Here are some kids animations tools I used, and there’s a ton more online!

  • Folioscope

  • Muvimi

  • Plotagon

  • Stop Motion

  • Toontastic

Further things to use:

  • Rough Animator

  • Do a course on Skillshare or YouTube or related website, that’s what I use to learn