David Skazaly is a Hungarian/German graphic designer who has been creating hypnotic, mind-warping GIFs since 2008. Working under the name Davidope, Skazaly’s psychedelic GIFs and warped images have set the standard for animated GIFs across the internet. Even if you haven’t heard his name before (or his online pseudonym, Davidope), you probably recognize some of Skazaly’s technicolor, organic forms, pulsing in infinite loops, whether on art blogs or the annals of Tumblr. Skazaly’s animations are strangely hypnotic and entrancing, pushing a format that is now primarily used for cat memes and celebrity reactions into successful, technically adept artistic territory.
Skazaly got his start experimenting with animation program Macromedia Flash in the 90s before focusing on his own motion graphics. Looking at his Tumblr now, it’s clear Skazaly has mastered the art form of creating technically perfect GIFs, from trippy, twisting shapes to black and white worms perpetually moving forward. Skazaly’s mind-bending GIFs are dizzying, satisfying works of art, elevating a now common internet trend to a mesmerizing new level.
Spanish artist and illustrator Isabel Chiara creates impressive gif collages, some uncannily reminiscent of animations in the Monty Python vein. Chiara cites the great masters of painting as her influences, and that’s something you can easily identify in her gif collages. One of her gif collages, “George Clooney is Inside,” was recently awarded Best Gif Collage at The Giphoscope Award 2014. Blending popular culture, absurdity, and classical aesthetics, Chiara creates unique animations that captivate your attention by telling a story. Juxtaposing classic and vintage human figures with modern, surrealist elements undoubtedly yields humorous and enchanting results. Visit Behance to explore more of Chiara’s work. (via cross connect)
There is no doubt that the current resurgence of the .gif medium is indicative of how image-based and internet-dependent our networked society has become. Born of and propagated through the Internet, .gifs offer a perfect medium for our constantly consuming Share-Culture, a culture that artist Mark Vomit masterfully samples from, and takes particular pleasure in critiquing. Inspired in equal parts by nostalgic ’80s and ’90s ephemera and modern Internet imagery, Vomit’s aesthetic has made him a leading voice in a new online visual arts movement, despite his often apathetic and apocalyptic style.
When asked via email to describe his motivation, as well as his aesthetic, Vomit responded adroitly:
“1. Mark Vomit is documenting the Apocalypse.
2. Mark Vomit manipulates images and sounds.
3. You Have No Voice, You Have No Choice, the New Order Nation has Taken Over and
Everything You Like Is Wrong.
4. Vomiting is the involuntary, forceful expulsion of the contents of one’s stomach through themouth and sometimes the nose.
5. Manipulate: to use or change in a skillful way or for a particular purpose.
6. Studies in Post 20th Century Culture and Media.”
This philosophical and aesthetic difference made Vomit (who also performs in the the art-doom-rock band Bollywood) a competitive contender in a recent head-to-head tournament of the world’s best .gif artists organizes by the influential new media art and tech site VIA. Considering the often too-cutesy and completely referential (read: unoriginal) work which proliferates Tumblr posts, it serves as a refreshingly radical reaction to have an artist defacing and exploring the medium with a grittier, grimier approach.
Interdisciplinary artist and illustrator Lilli Carré‘s “Moving Drawings” are simple and abstract and capture, in looped form, the surreal whimsicality to be found in her comic illustrations and animations. Based in Chicago, Carré has created several comic books and is a co-founder – along with her animator husband, Alexander Stewart – of the Eyeworks Festival of Experimental Animation. Carré’s animations are playful, evocative of childhood, and deal with themes of mundanity and transformation. Aware of the way animated gifs command attention and provoke feelings of delight and curiosity, of her gifs, Carré says, “They help me get little images in my head — like a woman incessantly eating flowers — out of my mind and into moving forms. They don’t have to be part of bigger projects; they can just exist on their own and live forever on the Internet. They’re like little breaths of fresh air.” You can find a collection of Carré’s animated films over on Vimeo. (via juxtapoz)
Cari Vander Yacht animates old photographs she found in thrift stores located near her hometown in Portland, Oregon. For the Amsterdam-based art director’s side project, TGIMGIF (Thank God It’s Monday Graphic Interchange Format), she breathes humor and new life into photographs that have been abandoned. Vander Yacht says she stares at the photos until she finds herself giggling over her animation ideas; she then scans and digitally manipulates the images until they become the animation she envisions. Her only rule is that she has to use the elements already in the photograph. Of her acquisition of these old photos, Vander Yacht tells Fast Company, “At a certain point, one must justify their creepy acquisition of other people’s pasts. Either you make up stories about how you’re related to the people in the pictures or you animate them.” Vander Yacht’s website is currently down for maintenance, but you can view more of her work on Tumblr. (via fast company)
The beauty of the .gif file movement is the documentation of the moving image. This leads to explorations in effects, one of the most impressive being the zoom, which taken to it’s logical conclusion can have stunning results. One .gif in particular, taken by James Tyrwhitt-Drake, utilizes a scanning electronic microscope from the University of Victoria’s Advanced Microscopy Facility, and clipping each scanned image into a fantastically detailed, zooming .gif.
Tyrwhitt-Drake, who also runs the blog Infinity Imagined, begins the .gif with a view of anamphipod (a classification of shell-less crustacean), zooming in further to reveal a diatom (a class of algae notable for their silica shells) on top of the amphipod, and further revealing a microscopic bacterium.Proving once again (if proof was needed) how visually stunning science can be. (via smithsonian)
Street artist INSA paints graffiti murals that he then turns into gifs – called “gif-itis” – by photographing multiple frames of a mural he paints several times, then combining the successive images to create animated gifs. Animating these street murals allows for a viewer to engage with the street artist’s work without leaving their home. The murals exist in the real world as a static image, but when combined with technology, they become a moving image only accessible in the virtual world.
In 2013, INSA traveled to Kubuneh Village in Gambia to paint murals on local structures for the Wide Open Walls Project. He completed his most recent piece (the revolving skulls and hearts at the beginning of this post) a few weeks ago after spending 2 days painting 8 layers of the mural.
You can watch a video of the making of one of his gif murals here. (via don’t panic)
Born in Canada, raised in the Chinese tradition, and based in New York, interdisciplinary artist Sougwen Chung has created an interactive, animated font called Kinecdysis that you can experience first-hand here. Recommended for polymaths, poets, and prophets, Kinecdysis is inspired by “the motif of ecdysis (from Ancient Greek: ἐκδύω, ekduo, to take off, strip off).”
Chung’s statement explains, “At the epilogue of transformation, what remains? Ecdysis is the process of shedding or casting off the exoskeleton in invertebrate organisms. As a metaphor for writing, it is in equal parts an assemblage, homage and exorcism of the self in all its prior iterations. It is the verbal vestige that forms the story of our private ecdysis… within it, the narratives that contain the modicum of our memory.”
You can view the entire animated gif alphabet here.