What did I do before Youtube? I honestly don't remember anymore.
Nina Paley's very creative Flash animation demonstrates her standing on the so-called "Cult of Originality" that seems to be quite pervasive at the moment. I quite agree with her point: everything builds on what came before it, and art is certainly no exception.
Another Paley Flash bit, this time it's the opening credits of her film Sita Sings the Blues. It's not only very well-designed and animated, but it conveys the Hindu version of the creation of the universe without any narration or dialog in approximately three and a half minutes. That's some visual storytelling.
Some wonderful traditional animation from Tony White. While I'm ambivalent about actually animating Hokusai's work, since one of the things I always found striking about it was the implication of movement-- to make it actually appear to move seems to take something away from it. But nonetheless, this is wonderful work. Also, it's very informative about the work of a brilliant artist.
Russia has such a rich history with animation I'm a bit beside myself that I can't get my hands on more of it. If anyone used to watch the Animated Shakespeare show on HBO back in the '90s, I believe most of, if not all of the animation for it was done by Russian studios and there was a fantastic variety of media and some incredible creativity at work in those. This short was linked to me by a friend in Hungary and I can't tell you how much I love it. It's a perfect example of comedic timing at its best.
I may be a little bit biased, since I grew up on He-Man, She-Ra, Transformers, and My Little Ponies, but even disregarding the nostalgia factor, this is some very creative stop-motion animation done by (I believe) amateurs. This is the first video I favorited on Youtube years ago and I still get a kick out of it.
A professor of mine last year showed this in class and it absolutely blew me away. It is bar none one of the most moving, creative, and perfectly executed pieces of animation and performance art I've ever seen. If you haven't seen it, watch it. If you have, watch it again. It's simply spectacular.