Animated “Gif-iti” Is  Whole New Way to Look at Street Art

Artist INSA’s latest mural comes to life with a free smartphone app.

image via youtube screen grab

It’s one of the interesting ironies of the digital era that so much of the world’s graffiti – art that is so inextricably tied to “place” – is seen, not in its actual location, but in the un-geography of the cyberspace. It’s this tension that exists at the core of UK artist INSA’s “gif-iti” – beautiful hand-painted graffiti murals which come to life when seen through the lens of his free smartphone app. Rather than simply animating out from a single, static source, gif-iti is a composite of multiple images, each done by hand, on the same surface; When one painting is finished, it’s covered, and replaced with the next, until the artist has enough continuous images to create the illusion of fluid movement.

The process looks like this:


This gif, from INSA gif-iti Tumblr blog, shows the finished result:

Having already created art in cities like London, Miami, and Paris, this week INSA unveiled his latest piece – a massive moving image in Rio De Janeiro that’s being called “The World’s Largest Animated Gif.” It’s a series of paintings so large they needed to be photographed by orbiting satellite.

INSA’s “Space Gif-iti” a stunning achievement for sheer scale alone: Each animation “cel” covers nearly fifteen thousand square meters. Perhaps more so, though, it demonstrates grafiti’s ability to grow in the digital age – not simply in audience, but in aesthetic as well.