Pee-wee Herman, Prince and Radiohead are three simple search terms that led to love. After listening to the infamous sound of old school AOL dial-up and logging onto the chats Ben Zurawski submitted his choosy criteria into a mass of thousands of users only to find one match – the charming Summer Violett. And so the conversation began.
Ben and Summer found common ground in their love for the maniacal laughter of Pee-wee Herman and the melodies of their favorite musical artists. The hunt for someone to talk to had ended, but their journey had just begun. The conversation was brought offline and taken to paper. Letters were exchanged until Ben brought his expertise to the table.
Flipbooks – we’re talking turn the pages, watch the story unfold, original animation – flipbooks.
The hand-crafted books were substitutes for words as Ben sent Summer several flipbooks. Summer didn’t shy away from the challenge and sent a couple back to her friend. Despite the distance and the lack of live interaction, Ben admits the flipbooks sealed the deal for him. He knew she was a “special weirdo” just like him [Ben’s words, not mine].
A year after they began talking, Ben and Summer decided it was time to meet so Ben flew to Summer in St. Louis, Missouri. The chemistry clicked and one visit later, the two kicked off a long-distance relationship.
Flip forward seven years and the quirky couple is happily married, after an adorable proposal in Pee-wee’s Playhouse, no less.
While the story is swoon-worthy with words, it’s nothing compared to how Ben, otherwise known as The Flippist, could tell it through his craft. A series of over one hundred index cards are drawn up before Ben weeds them out and assembles them in sequential order. The story spills with every flipped page as the characters leap about the card and make their way across the drawn landscape. Ben acts as Cupid’s right-hand-man providing the narratives of love through vivid imagery.
A man so unconventional would never stop at love stories, though. Ben can tell the tales of running ostriches, wacky adventures, Presidential debates, pizza flying through space and anything else the craziest of imaginations can think up. The flipbooks are enthralling from hand drawn and colored pages, to custom covers and sleek bindings, all presented in an illustrated box equipped with chocolates. Ben pours his heart into his wife and his work, neither of which are lost on us.
Scroll to the right to check out some pictures of Ben and Summer and watch one of Ben’s flipbook videos and his awesome proposal below!
If you could have a flipbook of anything, what would it be? Tell us in the comments section.
p.s. – If you liked this story, check out our R2D2 engagement ring post!