Seattle artist Rudy Willingham is giving the internet something to smile about. On Thursday, the creator posted a stop-motion video featuring Team USA gymnast Simone Biles ... and the crowd went wild.
Using 100 homemade paper cutouts, the video features Biles performing her signature flips against red, white and blue backgrounds set to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now."
"She's just incredible," Willingham told TMRW. "It’s a celebration of her and human achievement in general."
The 18 second video took Willingham more than a week to create.
"It’s very time intensive, but it’s worth it when you see it all," he said. "You’re watching the video but it’s also a piece of moving art."
Willingham's stop motion effect was created by taking a video and exporting 100 of the frames of the video into photos. From there, he edited each photo to remove the background.
"You go through the clothes and cut those out so it’s see through," he explained. "Then you print it and then I put it into the cutting machine. Then I shoot it all edit it all, and rearrange all the cards so it’s in the middle."
The artist told TMRW that each of the backgrounds holds a special meaning, and that in addition to his patriotic color scheme, there is gold mixed into Biles' feature.
"I try to have intent with all the backgrounds, even if it’s happening so fast you can’t totally tell. Each shot was taken somewhere for a reason," Willingham said. "There's a couple from the ferris wheel in Santa Monica, because I was like well, 'This thing spins.' I am always looking for colorful, positive, uplifting things."
While Willingham has created previous stop-motion videos, including Kobe and Gigi Bryant and Lil Nas X, and knew people adored Biles, he was not prepared for the popularity of his latest creation.
"I couldn’t have expected the amount of messages and love I’ve been getting," he shared. "It’s overwhelming and amazing."
But that isn't where it ended.
"Simone shared it on her stories and I was so starstruck," Willingham said, adding that whenever he creates a video he hopes he does the subject justice. "Just the fact that she shared it made my whole year."
Willingham has amassed nearly 4 million followers on his TikTok account and nearly 350,000 Instagram followers with his impressive videos featuring homemade paper cutouts.
The creator admitted he will be eagerly watching the 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games on NBC for "those amazing moments" he may be able to re-create.
"The world and the internet can feel so dark, my art is something that helps me take my mind off it," he shared. "Putting something positive out in the world to make people smile is the main goal of my art. When people say that, I’m doing something right.