Back in April, painter and illustrator Yui Abe was going through her old notebooks when she came across a rather intriguing image. It was a drawing she had done many years ago – apparently she has very little recollection of any context – that features a man inside Thomas The Tank Engine. The grotesque image was so striking in its utter disregard for the original, lovable talking train, that Abe decided to post the disturbing drawing to twitter. The image, which is accompanied by the rhetorical question, what was going on inside me when I drew these, quickly went viral. While we don’t know what was going on inside Abe’s head, we do now know what’s actually inside Thomas.
Two months and almost 25K retweets later, Abe received an offer to have her Thomas the Human Tank Engine printed on t-shirts and sold in the U.K. They’ll be available for purchase shortly through bottle of smoke.
So I’m not quite sure what the message is here. There’s certainly no shortage of twitter success stories. I guess I am simply amused by the out-of-the-box thinking (or is it, inside the box?) that resulted in this surreal image and that it has found a home abroad.