Try to Smile is a series about desire and consent… and I guess it’s basically an “elevated” version of Happy Bunny lol
“Try to smile” is a simple phrase with a simple design that represents the complex miscommunication that occurs simply because we are bad at communicating clearly with one another (whether that is because of language barrier, cultural barrier, inability to distinguish emotion from behind a mask, passive aggression, assumptions, etc.).
The one saying the phrase might have genuine good intentions, but either way it’s passive aggressive. Are they saying that because they need you to be happy in order for them to be happy? Or do they just want you to follow their orders and pretend to be happy? Or do they simply make a judgment, see you’re in a bad place, and want you to try something different so they can be satisfied and not worried? Is it selfish? Is it kindness?
The one receiving the phrase might be unable to smile or they might just not want to smile simply because you told them to do it. They don’t exist to satisfy your desire to see them smile, but your need to be satisfied can be frustrating. Maybe they do actually need your advice, but it’s not the right time or mode of communication. Is it helpful?
These images serve as a reminder for the one saying the phrase (the seemingly age old question: what is your intention and what is the impact of your action) and the one receiving the phrase (freedom to accept or deny).