Can you guess how many GIFs are now available online? Yeah, we can’t either. But we are rather certain that we are talking about billions, possibly trillions. The one thing we are sure of is that GIFs are hotter than ever, and they are used for a variety of purposes––from sending a quick text to your buddies, to getting your audience more engaged to your email marketing sequence thanks to a strategically placed GIF in your emails. And don’t even get me started on how, thanks to GIPHY Clips, TikTokers now have the possibility to include GIFs with sound in their videos.
But who is creating all these amazing GIFs? Let’s go over some history: first came the photographers, then the videographers, then the content creators. I won’t even begin to discuss NFT Creators (who knows whether they'll be there for the long haul?). But did you know that the GIF format was first launched in 1987––and the last time it was updated was in 1989? I know, we can’t believe it either. The GIF came before the internet, and it hasn’t even been changed since!
So we think it’s safe to say it’s time we turn the spotlight on GIF artists and illustrators, which, by the way, are on the rise in terms of numbers. Also coined “GIPHY Creators”, these artists and illustrators are masters at bringing motion to still photographs, making them fun, interesting and easy to share. But don’t make the mistake of assuming that Gif artists just create GIFs related to humor. They actually spend a lot of time and effort creating dazzling and thought-provoking GIFs that are museum-worthy too. I kid you not. From optical illusions to cartoonish effects, today, we are going to introduce you to our selection of the top 20 GIF artists and illustrators in the world.
Just because GIF artists and illustrators aren’t on everyone’s lips doesn’t mean that they aren’t as equally skilled at producing artworks that uplift and motivate us as their traditional visual art colleagues. Your opinion of what qualifies as a work of art will likely change as a result of the GIF artists we've featured here. Expect nothing like the humorous GIFs that go viral on the internet; this is a completely different scenario. Some of these artists are crushing it so hard that they’ve even produced pieces for clients like SnapChat, Google, Cartoon Network and The New York Times, to name a few.
New York-based artist Anthony Antonellis' creations have been displayed in exhibitions all around the world. He has been creating art for the majority of his life and sold his first piece when he was just 5 years old. While the rest of us were busy setting up lemonade stands to make a few bucks, Anthony put up a stand at the end of his driveway and sold drawings of rooster heads for a quarter. His initial GIFs were produced using Ulead GIF Animator for his high school art club. As of today, his GIPHY profile counts more than 2.5 billion views and his page is about “art, the internet and everything”.
Russian cartoonist Uno Moralez, who calls himself a "pixel painter," has been greatly influenced by David Lynch, Suehiro Maruo, Nicholas Gurewitch, David Lynch and Andrei Rublev. He combines imagery from various cultures to create something original and difficult, with references to traditional iconography, Soviet art, manga and more. The name is a pseudonym, so he is a little mysterious, although you can discover his artwork and find more about him on occasional interviews online. Moralez's GIFs have a gritty comic book feel to them with an ’80s video game vibe.
Twenty-two year-old Croatian GIF artist Paolo, a.k.a. Patakk, works out of Zagreb. He makes absolutely captivating GIFs by combining faces, shapes, optical illusions, and text. Patakk uses Cinema 4D and After Effects to make his GIFs and his goal is to “always make a perfect loop, not to break the motion”. Patakk loves GIFs because “the looping property makes it different from other video/image formats, it makes you think in another way and that's what makes me excited. It's the component I always take into account when making new GIFs”. His GIPHY profile counts over 130 million views.
A.L. Crego has a unique perspective on their surroundings. There is not much information on this creator online—just lots of profiles on various sites that were filled out by other people. However, Crego explains why they enjoy GIFs on their GIPHY profile: "Gif art is fast, little and short, but at the same time, I try to use these characteristics to create an immersive loop that gets into the spectator and makes them think. Or not.” Their GIFs have been viewed over 370 million times on GIPHY.
Based in Tel Aviv, Eran Hilleli is a GIF artist. He calls himself a "messy code explorer" and a "character obsessor." His GIFs have an edgy, gritty vibe, and occasionally they make you feel things you're not entirely sure why you're experiencing. Eran was just in his senior year when he made Between Bears, a delicate short movie with a simple yet striking aesthetic. The movie won "Best Animation" at the first-ever Vimeo Awards in New York the same year after being widely praised for its intricate plot, restrained color scheme, and deft use of negative space throughout the animation community. Eran is fascinated by simple shapes and fantasy universes and loves diving into projects that allow for different creative interpretations.
Min Liu is a Taiwanese animation artist who received her BA from the National Taiwan University in Taipei in 2010 and her MFA in Computer Art from the School of Visual Arts in New York City in 2013. Since then, she has concentrated on hand-drawn cel animation. Adult Swim, Vans, Google, LELO, Texas Monthly, Wall Street Journal, Calvin Klein, MTV, and other companies are among her clientele. She has a distinctive flair and a dark sense of humor. Numerous international film festivals, including the Taichung International Animation Festival, the 20th Japan Media Arts Festival, and Annecy International Film Festival, have chosen her film for screening. Her art has been displayed worldwide in numerous exhibitions and programs, including some in New York, Paris, Milan, Vienna, Amsterdam, and Brazil.
Carl Burton is an artist, animator, and designer who resides in New York City. Through the use of his abilities as an illustrator, animator, and 3D artist, Burtons' GIFs produce captivating settings and ambiances. He works primarily on 4D clips by mixing Photoshop and After Effects and makes animated GIFs of submerged, floating atmospheres that mix science fiction with reality, drawing inspiration from his surroundings and the news. Even though his films have received awards and recognition at film festivals all around the world, he still has time to create stunning gifs. We adore the spooky mood of his works and appreciate the rich colors and strong gradients.
Sachin Teng is a New York City-based independent artist that produces works for publishing houses, comic books, advertising campaigns, posters, book covers, and animation. Sachin Teng's GIFs are odd in the greatest way imaginable thanks to their extraordinarily intricate designs, which flawlessly combine glitchy, cartoonish, and realistic aesthetics. Wired, The New Yorker and Adidas are some of the clients he collaborates with. He says that “art is a language. I'm building my vocabulary. I hope to make work that means something, but I'm also happy to just make work that I love. Whichever it ends up being, language is meant to say something and we all have something to say”.
The London-based artist named Edward Carvalho-Monaghan aims to produce original works that do not pander to stylistic trends, despite the fact that his work unmistakably has a psychedelic bent. The entire world has seen exhibitions of his work. His rather original style combines bright colors, uniform strokes, black outlines, and a natural talent for creating richly narrative images.
Mr. Div, also known as Matthew T. DiVito, is a Massachusetts-based independent motion graphics creator. His GIF artwork emphasizes light work and geometric shapes. Together, they produce stunning GIFs that give you the impression that you're seeing an old picture (the kind with actual film). A series of graphic experiments made using a combination of After Effects and Cinema 4D with a retro digital flavor and inspired by 1980s futuristic imagery.
Located in the south of France, Micael Reynaud works as a photographer, videographer, and self-described doodler. His stop-motion animation and design work has won awards, and many people adore it. He combines time-lapse and masking to create new videos from bits of previously created videos he's made of everyday life.
Brooklyn-based Rebecca Mock is a GIF artist, comic book illustrator, and hobby animator who has had work published in the New York Times. She produces stunning GIFs that are clearly drawn but have subtle effects reminiscent of cinemagraphs. The GIFs that this artist produces often feature delicate motions and resemble paintings in many ways. A distinctive, atmospheric effect is the end product. Rebecca has a MICA (Maryland Institute College of Art) degree. Her GIFs have been used by the New York Times, Adventure Time, and other publications.
French illustrator Guillaume Kurkdjian makes slick, enticing GIFs that cleverly convey a message. To produce one-of-a-kind works, he combines his expertise in photography, 2D/3D art, and video directing. To produce straightforward but magical vignettes, he combines abilities in photography, film direction, and 2D and 3D art. His clients include Lyft, Apple, Facebook, Cartoon Network, Ikea and many others. That’s one hell of a resume!
French illustrator and art director Laurène Boglio resides and works in Brooklyn. Boglio's visual storytelling, which primarily consists of black-and-white shapes with the occasional splash of color, is simultaneously ludicrous and profound, joyful and sad. She gained notoriety for her oddball GIF animations in the beginning, but these days she experiments with editorial art, animated shorts, portraiture, and typography. Boglio works with a wide spectrum of clients and brands, from The New York Times and Women's Aid to Kiehl's and Taylor Swift, in addition to self-generated and partner-driven projects. She has long served as the creative director of Little White Lies, a print publication that honors movies and filmmakers and is produced in London, where she has lived for seven years.
Digital artist Hexeosis primarily uses the animated GIF format for his creations. Their GIFs are mind-bending and give you the impression that the world is being viewed through a kaleidoscope. In order to "visually portray infinite and to explain that there are various ways to see things," according to Hexeosis, they make GIFs. The word "hexeosis," which combines the words "hexagon" and "apotheosis," refers to a collection of “original gifs created to visually represent infinity.” Adobe After Effects and Maxon Cinema 4D are used to animate these animations. Some of them make use of Adobe Illustrator or Photoshop elements.
Based in Berlin and Amsterdam, Rafael Varona works as an illustrator, animator, and art director. He majored in Motion Design and advanced animated loops for social media and television while he was an undergraduate at the University of Arts Berlin. He is another GIF artist who employs loops to make interesting and entertaining GIFs. He is highly taken ("obsessed") with loops. He has collaborated with clients like The Washington Post, Wall Street Journal, World Health Organization, Farrow & Ball, KPMG, Pepsi, Google, Intel, Disney, Adobe, Porsche, Snapchat, Bacardi, and many more.
Carla Gannis is a Brooklyn-based interdisciplinary artist who creates darkly humorous digital and physical pieces that address human, environmental, and cosmological problems. She finds inspiration in literature, the arts, networking, science fiction, and developing technology. Her undergraduate work was at the University of North Carolina, and Boston University awarded her an MFA. She works as a professor and the department's assistant chairperson at Pratt Institute. After moving to New York in the late ‘90s, she started mixing digital components into her painting-based oeuvre. Since then, she has intrepidly delved into the "Internet Gothic" subgenre, splicing and pasting from the lines of networked communication, googleable art history, and speculative fiction to create dark and frequently funny investigations of the human condition.
Joe Maccarone is an illustrator with a BFA in illustration from the Maryland Institute College of Art who resides and works in Pittsburgh. He loves goo, ooze, and slime and hopes to one day reside atop a mountain. At Duolingo, he presently creates green owls. In addition to VICE, he has also worked with Buck, The New York Times, and Bleacher Report. His GIFs sometimes feel a little gloomy and creepy despite his "kid next door" attitude.
A London-based artist named Lucy Vigrass is a founding member of the famed Peepshow Collective. She engages in both solo and group projects in the fields of installation, animation, and illustration. The BBC, DDB Adam&Eve, The FT, The Guardian, The Independent, Newsweek, The New York Times, Somerset House, The Sunday Times, TBWA, V&A, and WIred are just a few of her clients.
Illustrator, animator, and designer Jeremy Sengly resides in Los Angeles on an ongoing vacation. Jeremy obtained more knowledge about animation while working at a small shop rather than when he was pursuing his studies in graphic design at the University of Minnesota. He describes his enjoyment of making GIFs in the following way on his GIPHY page: "It's fun for me to work in those restrictions and take advantage of places where gifs are unique, like looping. There's this awesome thing that happens when you get a loop to work right, it gets super hypnotic to watch, and I'm way into that.”
It’s inspiring that in the early 21st century, GIFs were a characteristic phenomena of the pervasive web networks. They were developed as a technique to create, transmit, and save images in a low resolution that was compatible with era-appropriate equipment. Today, this goal has been diminished, and they reflect the spread of patterns that, due to their scale, speak to a large portion of web users, evolving into memes, which are cultural phenomena whose information is spread across the internet with significant influence and virality.
Static photos, that on their own would not have been as moving, eerie, heartbreaking, or downright spooky, are now brought to life by GIF artists and illustrators. These GIF creators all employ animation, artwork, and motion to portray the world as they see it. We hope to have inspired you with their works and that you can get ideas from them for your own creations of art and design, or hey… even contact a few of these Gif artists to create artworks for your brand!
To find the artist of a GIF, start by searching for the GIF using keywords on a website or GIF library. Once you have located the GIF, look for any tags or credits listed with the image. If there are no tags or credits, you can contact the website or GIF library to ask for the artist's information. Additionally, you can also use reverse image search tools to try and find the artist.
Yes, GIPHY does pay artists for their work. Artists can join GIPHY's Artist Partnership Program and receive royalties for their GIFs. Artists receive a share of the advertising revenue generated from their GIFs, and can also receive promotional opportunities from GIPHY. Additionally, GIPHY also offers a program where artists can submit GIFs and receive a one-time payment upon approval.
The amount you can sell a GIF for depends on a few factors, such as the size of the GIF, the complexity of the animation, and the artist's experience. Generally, prices for GIFs range from $50 to $1500, depending on the specifics of the project. Additionally, some artists may be willing to negotiate the price depending on the size and scope of the project.
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