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Five GIF animators to watch out for

Leo Ribeiro

The GIF89A file format has survived the '90s to become an artform of its own. Meet some of the masters who are keeping it alive and well.
Five GIF animators to watch out for

A GIF by 18-year-old artist Graphonaute. Source: 

As digital and video art evolved so has the GIF, a file format that has outlived Netscape, Orkut and a myriad of other online platforms where it was widely used.

Short for Graphics Interchange Format, gifs allow for images to be compressed in a single file and animate them. As a ‘mini-movie’ that can quickly be shared and transferred, the format, which was once considered kitsch, is emerging as a new artform of its own with artists ever stretching the possibilities and conveying extraordinary vision that only takes seconds to render on a screen but sometimes months to produce.


ArtsHub takes a look at some of the most inspiring artists working with GIF art below.

Erdal Inci

Based in Turkey, Erdal Inci’s specialty is to create seamless loops where one man – often himself – becomes a crowd or ghostly lights take over streets and monuments with impressive results. His works are often described as ‘surreal’, ‘beautiful’ and ‘creepy’.

‘I realised that if you clone a recorded performance continuously it will become perpetual. So that you can see all the time phases of the same performance in a small amount of time like 1 or 2 seconds. This gives you the chance of thinking like a choreographer with a mass crew or painter who fills its frame not in forms and colour but motion. At this point I could tell I am inspired by patterns in traditional arts and crafts , dance and repetition. Motion, performance and real environments are the outlines of the work,’ the artist said in a statement.

Visit Erdal Inci's website.



Math and Physics French student Hugo Germain may be only 18 years old but has already established a reputation for his graphic design work. Also known as Graphonaute, the young artist is an aspiring engineer who says his amazing gifs are inspired by the work of Mattrunks and Videocopilot and uses After Effects and Cinema 4D to create his animations.

‘Each gif has its own story but mainly it’s a way for me to provide inspiration and make people question basic things we take for granted. I often wonder: “What if this or that was different/existed? What would that look like?” Being able to actually create an answer to that question is very exciting for me, and I guess that’s also what people like about it,’ he told website Really Shit!.

Visit Graphonaute's website.



DAiN 8

Seattle-based Dain Fagerholm uses ink pens and colour dye markers to create 3D illusions out of stereographic drawings, mostly of caricatures.

Fagerholm also works as a volunteer dog walker at the Progressive Animal Welfare Society and the Seattle Humane Society, enjoys tattooing himself and is currently spending time at a psychiatric ward to escape going to jail for the robbery of a cigarette.

He predicts his medium is the thing of the future on his blog. ‘Making GIFs part of the analog world is the whole f---ing point. Things are going to change big time in the next few years in terms of advertising, too,’ said Fagerholm. 

Visit DAiN 8's website. 

Rebecca Mock

The subtle and colourful animated GIFs of Brooklyn-based illustrator and comic artist Rebecca Mock have caught the eye of publications such as The New York Times and PC World magazine.

‘I really like cinemagraphs – GIFs that are made to look like “still” photographs but have a moving element. I like to think of my GIFs like they’re clips from movies or a window into a scene, that kind of thing,’ she told Poynter in an interview.

Visit Rebecca Mock's website. 

Micaël Reynaud

French freelance designer Micaël Reynaud’s animated GIFs are both award-winning and mind-blowing. Described as ‘hypnotic’ by many, it is the artist himself who best defines his art. ‘Accomplished the perpetual motion during 10 sec then stopped the process to avoid damaging it,’ reads his Google+ profile.

‘It’s like a boring slideshow but bibbidi bobbidi boo faster,’ reads another description on his Twitter.

Visit Micaël Reynaud’s website. 

About the author

Leo Ribeiro is an ArtsHub writer.