Featured Art

Animated GIF Art: A Feature of Three Modern, Visual Artists

GIF animation artists Kevin Weir, Erdal Inci and ABVH represent a new generation of modern, visual artists.   Using the computer and sophisticated software to create a seamless, yet fascinating endless loop of images set in motion.  We have all seen them. Animated GIFs can produce bright animation displays, ghostly images and fantastic movements. It fascinates us.

What is a GIF? According to the Art Fag City, the first GIF was introduced by Compuserve in 1987. (Remember Compuserve?)

The Graphics Interchange Format (GIF) is one of the most common formats for animated images. Today the format has been eclipsed by the near-universal support for Flash and PNG, but during the 1990s and early 2000s GIFs were a defining component of the Web. GIFs have a multitude of meanings: for Internet nostalgists, they tie into the DIY aesthetic of the Internet before the general turn to modernist web design and free professional CMSes like WordPress, Moveable Type, and Tumblr; for open-source advocates, they represent a certain form of tyranny colored by Compuserve’s fight, in the mid-1990s, to require licenses to display GIFs; for artists, they represent the most immediate, reproducible, and, in many cases, visually specific animated medium available.”

Although GIF animation as an art form had its early beginnings in the mid 1990’s,  modern GIF art has certainly produced a number of artistic works in its own right. Here is a sampling of 3 artists who have turned animated GIF art into something special and perfected it into a modern, visually stimulating art form.

Kevin J. Weir

Kevin Wier is an animation GIF artist and Art Director at Droga5 in New York City. He has also held positions as Art Director intern at David & Goliath in Los Angeles.

One of his most popular projects is the ghostly series you see above.  These animated GIFs were made using old photographs from the library of congress flickr account. Many of these images are transformed into a ghostly series of images. He has also worked on a number of photographic projects and video imagery projects such as “The Flight – Dark Corners”

Dark Corners by The Flight, co-written by and featuring the unmistakable voice of Keaton Henson. Created & Directed by Kevin Weir.

“Art director and designer Kevin Weir uses historical black and white photographs forgotten to time as the basis for his quirky—and slightly disturbing—animated GIFs. His path to online GIF superstardom began when he was in high school. He tells us that “my parents’ boss bought me a copy of Photoshop and I decided I wanted to be some kind of designer.” Having mastered the software, he found himself five years later “making black and white GIFs as a way to occupy myself during the downtime of an internship I had during grad school.” He shared the images on his Tumblr, Flux Machine where they quickly went viral.

Weir makes use of photographs he finds in the Library of Congress online archive, and is deeply drawn to what he calls “unknowable places and persons,” images with little connection to present day that he can use as blank canvas for his weird ideas. Perhaps it’s the nature of his imagination, or maybe a result of the medium’s limited frames of animation to communicate anything too serious, but despite the creepiness factor, it’s hard to not to smile at the absurdity of his ideas.” (source Colossal interview)

“I grew up in the woods of rural upstate New York, just outside of Binghamton. Went to Penn State for undergrad. Studied abroad in Australia. Photoshopped a vacation to Antarctica while in Australia. Somehow got a masters at the VCU Brandcenter. I’m now an art director at Droga5 in NYC. I enjoy bears, space and GIFs. Also, table tennis, mountains, science fiction, surrealist art, popcorn, animation and Jeff Goldblum.” (Bio – Official Website)

Some of his other projects are quite interesting such as the collaborative photographic work he did with fellow art director NJ Placentra called Loud Portraits.

loudportraits

“While we’ve never made any effort to promote or seed the site, it’s somehow managed to become a massive hit in Russia. Over one hundred thousand views now. To this day, hundreds of Russian people visit the site daily and I don’t know why.  Спасибо, что заглянули!”

“I grew up in the woods of rural upstate New York, just outside of Binghamton. Went to Penn State for undergrad. Studied abroad in Australia. Photoshopped a vacation to Antarctica while in Australia. Somehow got a masters at the VCU Brandcenter. I’m now an art director at Droga5 in NYC. I enjoy bears, space and GIFs. Also, table tennis, mountains, science fiction, surrealist art, popcorn, animation and Jeff Goldblum.” (Bio – Official Website)

See more of Kevin’s work at Fluxmachine

Erdal Inci

Eral Inci is one of the newest generation of animated artists.  He is also an accomplished photographer living in Turkey.  He is best known for producing cloned motion video and GIFs as a series of images involve public places taken at night with light motion.  Many of his works feature him as the animated subject.  His animations are seamless and ‘clone-like’.  He has created a variation of GIF animation coined “cloned motion video”.  In many of his GIF’s, the loops incorporate ‘cloned’ or a copied image (many times himself as the subject) in an endless loop.

“. . .  Erdal Inci has created a hypnotic series of GIFs that takes the concept of cloned motion to a truly eerie level. Often using images of himself in mundane situations, Inci transforms simple snapshots into entrancing video loops. Believe us, these clips will haunt your computer screen while you attempt to decipher the unique patterns.” (Huffington Post)

Some of his other works, such as Stumblers is quite fascinating and conjours images of men marching or cloned robots.

“I post the GIF versions of original high-definition video works of mine to this blog. If you are interested ,please ask for the numbered editions of originals. I am also available for commissions…” (Tumblr)

ABVH

Probably the most famous of all modern GIF animators, Serbian artist and Photoshop wizard ABVH has taken artistic license in both printed art works as well as the famous street art of both NYC and Italy.  Some of his most famous GIF animations include the Bansky’s New York City street graffiti , the street art by NemO’s and Os Gêmeos and the animated art work of Don Kenn’s Monsters.

Recently, ABVH was posed this question on his Tumblr account:

Do you condone people posting your animations on other sites? For manipulation purposes, or just flat-out not sourcing you? I just want to check since I found someone uploading your animations on a website stating that they did them when I know they didn’t. I just want to know what your feelings are about this before I take any kind of action about it. Thanks!

“My rule is Post and Source. But when they post it without sourcing it, that’s just the internet, can’t escape that. I source all of the original illustrators, sometimes spending more time searching for the original illustrators name and web site than making the animation. If they post my animations and taking credits for them, that’s just plain theft and may they never have access to internet porn ever again.”

Each of these artists have taken animated GIF art into the modern era of accepted visual arts.

Links and Resources

Art Fag City – What is a GIF?
Kevin J. Weir Official Website
Flux Machine (Kevin Weir)
Colossal
Huffington Post – Cloned Motion GIFs Show Artist Erdal Inci Experimenting With Patterns
Erdal Inci (Tumblr)
Made by AVBH (Tumblr)
Buzzfeed – Banksy’s Graffiti, Animated
Huffington Post – The Best Of Banksy Animated Into Incredible GIFs
A Brief History of Animated Gif Art (Parts 1-3)
Street Art Utopia
Don Kenn’s Monsters

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