September 16, 2014
Artist Kevin Weir creates creepy GIFs from vintage photos found in the Library of Congress
by Rachel Smitley
The lately beloved, but actually very old Graphics Interchange Format — aka GIFs, for the less tech savvy — is taking on a new and fairly creepy shape. Artist Kevin Weir’s animations are not your average screen shot of Michael Scott doing something stupid on The Office. Instead, he pores through archives of digital photos from the Library of Congress for inspiration, and turns his discoveries into high resolution GIF art.
The LOC’s digital photo archive is extensive but somewhat difficult to search, so Weir’s finished pieces are a labor of love. He told Colossal in an interview recently that he is attracted to the vintage photographs because of what he calls “unknowable places and persons.” The photos have little relevance to today’s culture, as no one outside of the library really knows where the pictures are from, and their anonymity makes them perfect canvases for Weir’s own crazy ideas.
Weir’s GIF-making started in high school when he was given a copy of Photoshop and “decided [he] wanted to become some kind of designer.” After five years of mastering the program and filling his taskless hours at a grad school internship with black and white GIF creation, he started his blog flux machine, posted the Library of Congress animations, and went viral.
Weir’s creativity is apparent in every piece and his out of the box ideas are both thought provoking and visually appealing. Could it be that GIF is the new medium for artists looking to expand their creativity outside the “normal” artistic avenues? Or is this simply a blip on the radar and Tom Haverford and Mean Girl GIFs of today will reign forevermore?