Have you ever been to the weird part of YouTube? You know, the one where everyone repeatedly writes in the comment section “I’m in That Weird Part of YouTube” again?
Well, 48-year-old Australian animator-purely-for-hobby WendyVainity, with her three million video views, is their queen. Or the second coming of Jesus.
Whatever kind of leader label you want to give her, WendyVainity is the most press-famous player in the Weird YouTube space. It's not just because of her upload consistency, but also for her works of seemingly unintentional artistic merit and easy yet dark cultural commentary.
When art blog Hyperallergic compared WendyVainity to the reclusive and self-taught writer and painter Henry Darger, it prompted Salon to discuss her work in the greater context of “outsider art.” She also uses nostalgic imagery that would now be considered seapunk-esque. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here.
WendyVainity first burst into the Internet’s conscious in 2010 when her “Meow! Sad Toy Cats” video went viral–the only one of her videos that could technically be considered “viral,” as it has racked up half a million views to date.
In the video’s description WendyVainity writes that, like most of her work, it was done as a “silly fur displacement test” “not meant to invoke any deep feelings,” and she is “extremely puzzled by some comments” she’s received on the video.
However weirded-out she may have been, WendyVainity had finally found her audience. The success of “Meow! Sad Toy Cats” prompted her to try the formula again in “bowwow, sad toy dogs” along with “viral vacuum,” which comes across as a direct comment on the popularity of “Meow! Sad Toy Cats” and the viral video phenomenon.
Her animations can be recognized by a few distinct staples: undulating hair (or fur); sarcastic, creepy and sexual undertones; cut-off endings that leave you hanging; and bizarre remixed audio. (See “piggy in the mud” for a tamer example.) WendyVainity may or may not induce nightmares.
Mr Meat Tray, a personal favorite and one of her more violent videos, is only 44 seconds long and features a nude male without skin dancing Gangnam Style before he falls apart limb for limb into a pool of blood. WendyVainity ends the video with a short poem about how the man picked himself up and carried on with his life just fine.
Bruuna, a recurring character in WendyVainity’s work, seems to represent the quintessential adventurous young female with her flowing hair, Barbie-like proportions and vocal sexual availability. Bruuna rides horses, attempts to pick up guys on motorcycles, and struts her stuff from jungle to city street.
She is, for all intents and purposes, WendyVainity’s alter ego.
As for WendyVainity herself, we see her sometimes too mostly in animated form, though WendyVainity had to remove them from her YouTube channel because “video flagging trolls don't like big beautiful women.” (WendyVainity’s animated form is true to her weight and age.)
Those videos live on, however, on Vimeo, where she’s compiled them into one five minute video called “big beautiful virtual Wendy.” (The last minute and a half, where she lounges in a pool with frolicking (and glitching) Orcas practically naked and covered in a milky white liquid, is probably NSFW.)
WendyVainity's fanbase, however uncomfortable they were with her animated sexuality, are a relatively loyal and dedicated bunch on YouTube. They constantly reference other characters in newer works. Most recently, YouTube fans commented about Cowrara, WendyVainity's girl in a cow costume, showing up on her latest video, "Sock-ra-tease, she is here," about a cow begging to be milked.
Even if WendyVainity never wins any awards for her video work or gets rich from YouTube ad money, it's clear she's tapped into an Internet consciousness: one that types about how "weirded out" they are upon initial exposure but then sticks around and even remixes her work or puts it to guitar. To echo one startled YouTuber, WendyVainity's work sometimes comes across as porn for the clinically insane.