Through Dizzy Array of GIFs, Blind Artist Challenges Our Sense of Order
George Redhawk creates mesmerizing GIFs that captures how the rest of us fail to see the world
GIFs provide constant entertainment for a virtual sphere that quickly digests information. The most shared ones capture pop cultural moments, creating a treasure trove of hilarity on a never-ending loop. But the GIFs of George Redhawk take a much different direction. In creating his pieces, Redhawk—who is legally blind—wants to create a different visual experience, one that more closely resembles the way he sees the world.
“Back in 2010 I made the discovery that if I morph a photo to itself, i could create strange movements in the final result,” Redhawk wrote in an email. “It took a long time to understand and gain control of the movements but it gave birth to what is now being called The RedHawk Effect.”
Now legally blind for 12 years, Redhawk sees his work as a way to recreate the “mental confusion” he feels when registering visual cues.
The France-based artist creates his GIFs using already existing photos, paintings or digital artworks. He layers the same image over and over again, using animation to mimic the way in which he views his environment. The GIF format creates an always-moving image and encourages viewers to take part in a sometimes dizzying visual experience.
“My art is designed to challenge, confuse, and in some cases, disturb the visual sense of ‘order,'” Redhawk wrote.
Redhawk initially found images he liked on the Internet and notified artists when he used their work. Now, his work has gained attention and provided him with a supportive online community. Many artists now reach out to volunteer their work for use in his animations.
GIFS, by nature, create the sensation of a never-ending loop. Someone might fall over and over again, or maybe someone rolls their eyes continuously. Redhawk’s GIFs, however, come from an originally static image. Their motion comes from the artist’s creative and aesthetic decisions. In this sense, they showcase an internal state versus an external event that has already happened.
GIFs continue to show up in many digital artists’ work but the format as used by Redhawk’s work seems especially important because it creates new possibilities for artists of different capabilities. Digital tools could bring to fruition a number of ideas that some artists normally wouldn’t think possible to create.