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A Beginner's Guide to Gif Artists

Lets talk about gifs, baby. 

Gifs have been around as long as I have (since 1987, to be exact), but only in recent years have they begun to make the transition from GeoCities-style annoyance to art form. A reaction gif is worth 1,500 words (and enter into my online conversations regularly), but these beauties are worth even more. Maybe like 2,750. Its time you sit down and get acquainted with these five motion graphic artists.

Coming sometime: A Beginners Guide to GIF Artists, Black and White Edition.

The obvious:
Cinemagraphs 

Jamie Beck and Kevin Burg weren’t the first on the art gif scene, but they’re the first gif artists I know to actually trademark their brand of moving picture—the cinemagraph. (I don’t know where that falls on your snobbery scale, but I’ll leave interpretation up to you.) Beck and Burg use animation to give already-stunning fashion photography a subtle kick, resulting in a close approximation to this nerd’s idea of sci-fi photography: “more than a photo but not quite a video.”

 

  

Marrying original content photography with the desire to communicate more to the viewer birthed the cinemagraph process.

The ubiquitous:
Ignacio Torres

What do you mean you haven’t heard of Ignacio Torres? His Stellar series took the Internet by storm last year (or maybe before, while I wasn’t paying attention). They look a bit like wiggling, glittering pages in an Urban Outfitters catalog—and while his art- and gifwork don’t stop there, the style is largely the same. And it’s not a bad thing. 

This project began from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a star’s death.

The hypnotist:
Matt Divito

Matthew DiVito is a motion graphics designer and an aspiring game developer—and as a gamer, I really hope he tackles that aspiration. He’s mastered looping geometric animations in his own grainy, retro signature style, and while I’d be content to gaze into his gifs all day, I’d also like to play more of his games (like his point-and-click adventure entry for Ludum Dare 22).

 

Matthew DiVito's gif animations mark him out as one of the best designers working in this burgeoning small-scale medium. 
—Creative Review

The technicolorist:
Mimi Leung

Mimi Leung holds nothing back when she goes to work with ink or paint. Her love of color and absurdity is gorgeous on the page and wild as gifs, and it’s hard to walk away from her art and not be infected by its playfulness. Go on. Try it.

 

 

For most of us, the entire skin of a man flying off might be a bit gruesome, but when the talented Mimi Leung does it, it’s an explosion of fun and colour.
—Ape on the Moon

The spinsters:
RRRRRRRROLL

In May, these ladies kicked off a new project called rrrrrrrroll, turning a fun trip into a photography project exploring minimalist animation and representations of the flow of time. The results are as enchanting as they are dizzying, and lucky for all of us, they post a couple of new gifs on their Tumblr every week.

  

They were all thinking how cool it would be to produce something while just hanging out together when they started to make their amazing animated pictures.
—iGNANT

Culture: Interview with Designer Sarah M. Holm

Don't Judge a Book by Its Sitcom (and Vice Versa)