Reclaiming the Animated Gif Part 3

In these early days of May there’s a lot pushed on us that will supposedly make me proud to be Mexican (er, Chicano). I can appreciate the politics of May 1st but when it comes to Cinco de Mayo I usually associate it with simplifying history, beer ads, and drunk college kids. I’m all for gettin’ sauced up now and then but please don’t do that shit in the name of my people.

That said, what’s made me proud to be Mexican American recently is the work of Mexican artist Jaime Martinez. With all the writing I’ve done about animated gifs so far I was excited to discover that these works of art were done by a Mexicano. I’m not sure what technique he uses for capturing his images, if he’s quick on the draw with the shutter or he uses multiple cameras. His methods give them the visual depth of old fashioned stereograms.

According to his site, Jaime Martínez was born in Monterrey México (1978) and he is currently living in Mexico City. His art sheds light on the potential of animated gifs. These mind-blowing images are truly state of the art. Enjoy.




Reclaiming the Animated Gif Part 1

Much has been written about the differences between myspace and facebook and the implications of class, race, and education that fill the divide. Nothing has signified this paradigm better than facebook not displaying animated gifs on their site. People fleeing bling graphics and the gaudy pimped-out layouts of myspace have found peace and tranquility within the rigid boundaries of facebook.

I can understand the issues that people have with animated gifs. Aside from their mostly vulgar aesthetics that can make your eyes bleed they can also present technical problems as well. Back in the day when I only had a dial-up connection at home (about 3 months ago) I had to avoid the myspace profiles of certain friends because, quite frankly, they filled their pages up with so many gaudy ghetto graphics that the shit would cause  my computer to crash. Even now with a solid wi-fi connection too many “100% Sexy Mami”, “Just dropping by to say hi”, and “(insert name of Latin American country) pride” animated gifs will still fuck up my mac.

As a Chicano, I do have strong interest in these graphics that I so frequently condescend to. Animated gifs are the Paño art for the current generation of young people. They are art created with the available tools and resources at their disposal. In this transition they have lost their technical hand made quality in exchange for color, motion, and easy deliverance. Art in magazines like Lowrider, Teen Angel, and Mi Vida Loca have also become outmoded in the rise of the animated gif.

The cultural and social dynamics and ghetto notoriety of the gif has made me interested in artists who work in the medium with this stigma in mind. My favorite is Colombian graphic artist Mariana Rojas (also known as La Furia). Her artwork embraces the gaudy aesthetics of animated gifs and turns them into something bombastic. My favorites are below.

Friday Im in Love by La Furia
Friday I'm in Love by La Furia
Feliz viernes 13 para ti! by La Furia
Feliz viernes 13 para ti! by La Furia
Amor Electrico by La Furia
Amor Electrico by La Furia

More on this subject to come,