We Put Things Here

Ann Suh was born in 1984, raised in both New Jersey and Dallas, Texas. She has always had a strong desire to pursue art and began attending the School of Visual Arts in 2003 to fulfill those pursuits. She hopes to be able to step out into the world and live a life that is daring filled with adventure, while making awesome art along the way.


Humor in Inappropriate Situations

To laugh at yourself in your own misery always seems to be less demoralizing than having others point their finger at you, while you wither away in public humiliation. Safe to say, most of us just don't have the sense of humor to laugh about unfortunate situations like falling into an open sewer or slipping on a banana peel. But why then when we watch our Saturday morning cartoons are we laughing hysterically as we watch Wile Coyote run into a telephone pole and then proceed to get slammed by an anvil? Because it is funny. How else would Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner generate so much success?

Chuck Jones (the creator) found the “ha-ha” factor, as awful as it may be, that lies in death and unfortunate situations for poor Coyote. Life, and sometimes death, can be funny. Death or misfortune does not need to bear such brooding connotations provoking sadness and remorse. There is something about life that is not so serious and heavy as we make it out to be. That's why when we take our own humiliation and simulate it on someone else, it immediately becomes funny. Sometimes, death can be beautiful (or funny), if it is executed in the proper way. An unfortunate act can be funny, if it is executed in the proper way also. And happiness and life can be dull and boring if it is executed in the wrong way.

My concentration is on the “ha-ha” factor in situations where it is typically inappropriate to laugh, but you find yourself being amused anyway.


Delving into my first project with my new thesis was difficult and took some time to reach a solution. In retrospect, I see that I had only begun to skim the surface of the possible solutions my thesis had to offer. Eventually, I tried to create 3 posters that would make the viewer think twice about what we, as society, thought was funny.


Solution: This second project gave me an opportunity to explore deeper within my topic than what I had previously done. I started to really think about why people find humor in inappropriate situations and how they use it. During this time, a book called Heil Hitler: The Pig is Dead was introduced to me. The book looked at jokes that Jews told each other during Hitler’s reign in Germany. It inspired me to base my publication on the humor that I could find during that time and how those people used humor in their darkest hour to find the courage to keep on living.


I decided to send my package to Wendy Northcutt, the creator of the website The Darwin Awards, which retells anecdotes of people who have died absurd and ridiculously asinine deaths. With this project, I wanted to involve more of the “making” process and reinterpret the stories using my own collaged illustrations. In the end, I created a 2-sided accordion pullout presented as a gift to the recipient, showcasing her stories in a new way that showed my appreciation to her for all the shameless laughs I had while reading her website.


After many sketches and brainstorming, I thought that combining two well-known iconic images would be the best way to solve the project. In one column, I gathered as many images that evoked happiness or laughter, and in the other, I gathered as many images that evoked sadness and death. I saw that combining these two elements really got my thesis across and finally I landed on an atom bomb with a smiley face on it.


For this project, I decided to choose one of my favorite movies, Harold and Maude. I mainly focused on the theme of outcasts and outsiders, as the main characters Harold and Maude, are living as outsiders in a norm society. Using photos by such photographers as Nan Goldin and Larry Clark, I combined them with my own imagery to produce a book that evoked a sense of loneliness and outsiderness, and how sometimes those feelings could lead to death and personal self destruction in a world where fitting in and being normal is strived for.


I thought about the existing forms on which I could design on top of for this project. Of these forms, I thought a blanket could most closely express my topic in that people associate sleeping with death. People just seem to resemble a dead body when they’re sleeping and after all, there is that saying that, “Sleep in the cousin of death.” So as a solution, I thought it would be funny if a blanket read, “I’m not dead, I’m just sleeping.”