Interview with the Thinker of GIF, Artist A.L. Crego

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A.L. Crego walks comfortably between the stillness of the image and the rhythm of a scratched report, utilizing gif loops to signify a hypnotic visible mantra. 

Crego, who uncovered his ardour for this artwork type after recognizing how the shifting photographs made folks assume sooner and extra accessibly than different types of artwork, creates photographs with a type of sci-fi classical aesthetic, items that appear to be talking for themselves as in the event that they had been culled straight from his personal unconscious. 

Now one thing of a heavy-hitter on the subject of the GIF-making trade, Crego has been approached by numerous DJs, artists, and businesses who’re all curious about getting their very own private work made. 

He has just lately began to work with Augmented Actuality apps, taking part in with the new child “digital public house” and asking questions concerning the idea of museums, artwork, and even actuality. For Crego, the GIF format just isn’t solely a method of making and watching artwork however a brand new mind-set. 

His Tumblr web page is an efficient place to begin to see his work, which is essentially surrealist in nature – one other Spanish artist following within the footsteps of different nice Spanish surrealist artists.

Brady Walker: My first query is round the way you’re in a position to create a lot — in the event you’re the type of one who does dailies or what your observe appears like. You may have plenty of collection. So, I’m simply questioning how issues stack on one another, and the way typically you create, and the way lengthy?

A.L. Crego: Yeah. These days, it isn’t provoked within the sense that allow’s do a bit day-after-day or one thing like this. It was extra a consequence of a relentless investigation. As a result of earlier than focusing my work on GIF, I used to be working so much in photograph and video.

Again then, for me, artwork was what was in museums and issues I see on faculty excursions. I believe I used to be 21 after I understood GIF format as one thing extra creative as a result of, after all, I at all times noticed GIFs on the net, the cats and the memes and all these items, however I used to be considering by then, why aren’t you utilizing this format for one thing extra creative? As a result of photograph and video can be utilized. 

So, I began to only experiment with plenty of issues: with cinematography, about find out how to combine video and photograph inside a GIF with an ideal loop. And out of the blue, I discover myself surrounded by tons of labor and it was by then that I began to publish it on Tumblr. I began to do road artwork animations in 2014. However I didn’t know, I used to be simply attempting issues.

Like, okay, I can animate this on road artwork partitions on my pc, however I can’t within the streets. After which, I begin to combine it with augmented actuality. This was 2014, and all these years, from 2014 till 2018, I used to be completely immersed within the investigation, attempting issues and dealing in road artwork festivals. And through these years, I developed a workflow that also lasts these days. 

It’s not that I suggest to do a brand new piece day-after-day. However day-after-day, I’ve some new concepts or some previous concepts. Prior to now, if you end up portray, if in case you have an thought within the center, it’s a must to begin one other canvas. 

However in digital artwork, in the event you already engaged on an thought and out of the blue one other totally different thought got here from the identical work, you’ll be able to “save as,” and you’ve got one other venture to work on. So, I do plenty of this as a result of generally I’m engaged on concepts. So, I “save as” and put it in a folder for later.

Blockchain was a great level as a result of I used to be having plenty of issues with folks stealing my work, and I by no means had the choice to show that it was my work. 

Artwork is one thing that everyone consumes. I needed to begin to consider find out how to join this work with the blockchain. And it was, I believe, in 2018 when MakersPlace lastly contacted me to hitch them as a result of I wasn’t actually curious about learning the code aspect. I used to be extra within the visible aspect, within the creative aspect. 

Because of MakersPlace, I began minting my work, and I began to completely perceive how I can work with the blockchain extra. As a result of by then, I had plenty of work ready to be minted. 

I perceive the blockchain and the metaverse as an entire. For me, it’s very onerous to divide. Identical in the actual life. I don’t divide museums from road artwork. For me, each are artwork. They’re totally different contexts. However you’ll find good artwork in each locations.

And these days, because of the platforms like Twitter and this idea with the blockchain that hyperlinks to the IPFS, we all know find out how to discover nice digital work. 

BW: Are you able to inform me a little bit bit about your visible beats venture, talking of collection of items?

ALC: Certain, thanks for the query as a result of it’s a collection I get pleasure from. As a result of since I began to work with GIFs, I spotted it was an apparent factor. GIFs are beats, when it comes to music, as a result of I performed drums too. I’m a type of musician. I don’t play in a band, however I play drums at residence. 

I spotted that GIFs, regardless of being silent, can resound. Visible Beats was an thought concerning the musicality of GIFs, not the music of GIFs as a result of they’re silent. 

However the musicality is about three issues. The weather are the melodies. The background is a movement canvas that’s the environment of the music. After which the proper loop is what creates the rhythm. So once you have a look at every of those items, they’re all designed at 100 bpm’s, so all of them have the identical rhythm. It’s a type of symphony of silence.

I began to consider this collection for the musicality and the idea of the proper loop. It’s very onerous to just accept a GIF that’s not seamless as a result of it breaks this sense. In a great GIF, you’ll be able to’t discover the place it begins and the place it ends. Our mind tries to seek out the stitching level, however it might probably’t. 

This concept got here after a earlier collection I did that they name Hypnotic Machines. That was fairly related as a result of the approach is similar. 

It’s frequency modulation, a really previous approach, however I’ve been taking part in with it so much for the previous two or three years. In Hypnotic Machines, the main target was extra on the geometric noise, the fixed movement that has plenty of parts, however all of them concurrently. 

Hypnotic Machine 2

BW: I’m curious the way you’ve seen your collectors show your work. Particularly the Visible Beats. I like them. I simply pictured myself getting 5 screens, they usually’re all type of in sync. How do you assume displaying GIFs works greatest?

ALC: I’ve one Meural at residence that’s from 2016. They gave it to me as a result of I helped them again within the day to make some GIFs. I used to be considering in 2016, I wish to see my GIF in my front room. I looked for digital canvases and located two firms. One Japanese and one American. Japanese by no means replied, however the American one was Meural. They replied three hours later. 

I at all times say that GIFs rely on the net. As a result of GIFs are from the net. The Web is their pure ecosystem. And I worth that so much as a result of working with GIFs is like working with a web site.

There’s a lack of know-how concerning the technical aspect of GIFs. As a result of folks attempt to render a GIF, and perhaps they don’t know the way it works from the within. They’ve GIFs which can be 90 megabytes, for instance, and that is loopy. If you’re rendering a GIF of 90 megabytes, simply do it in a video. 

However once you import a video to a digital canvas, you should have this little soar on the finish of the loop, and I hate that. Think about somebody watching Hypnotic Movement and it stops for one second each time. It’s not hypnotic. 

For me, my favourite display screen to showcase is your cellphone or your pc. The online is the canvas. 

BW: When you’re designing items, how do you determine on side ratio, simply primarily based on whether or not that is for a cellphone or a pc?

ALC: Truly, yesterday, I used to be speaking with a good friend about that. Generally, sure. Panorama or portrait. However, for instance, for exhibitions or some curated works, I at all times ask first concerning the display screen. As a result of I wish to adapt. 

If I’m working by myself thought, I don’t pay an excessive amount of consideration to this. Some concepts require panorama if you would like one thing extra narrative. And a few concepts really feel extra poignant or highly effective if they’re vertical.

However I’ll adapt to the display screen I’m creating for. I discover some type of pleasure in this type of problem. Think about they are saying, “No, we have now three screens, however we’d wish to work with three totally different items concurrently.” I’ll assume one thing about three items that complement one another as an alternative of doing three particular person items.

Dendrites 2

BW: I used to be items and collection like Dendrites and Helix. Then your earlier work was animated road artwork. Even your items which can be figurative, within the sense that there’s a human or animal current, issues are diminished to their barest architectural simplicity. Are you able to discuss this tendency to scale back down after which construct from the diminished type?

ALC: It goes hand in hand with how I perceive the GIF format itself. The extra I understood the format, the extra I diminished the variety of colours and obtained essentially the most minimal I can whereas maintaining a powerful visible. 

And one factor that you simply stated is true, and it’s humorous. I’m a really unhealthy animator. I didn’t research animation in a method that refers to human anatomy and these items. So after I began animating road artwork, many road artists use the human determine. So, I needed to study a bit about find out how to transfer a human.

However with time, I attempt to keep away from human figures or animals as a result of our mind very nicely detects the actions that it already is aware of. So if there’s a body that out of the blue just isn’t as your mind expects, it’ll look unhealthy. It’s like, Ah, one thing is unsuitable. 

So, I strive with time to keep away from these sorts of motion and as an alternative targeted on pure actions just like the wind, the water — extra natural motion. 

It was additionally about lowering the variety of colours. And that is associated on to how the GIF format works. As a result of in GIF format, the extra colours you have got, the larger the file.

This took plenty of experimenting. Two or three years in the past, I began to focus extra on black and white, pure white. As a result of I solely use one colour, I can have enormous GIFs with a really small file measurement, which is sweet for the net. 

Think about you paint a canvas that’s greater than the door to your studio. You may’t take it out. In the event you do a really large GIF, folks gained’t use it as a result of it requires plenty of time.

This is the reason I’ve been going extra to geometry and pure white. As an alternative of black and white, I wish to say black and light-weight. As a result of even blacks are gentle on a display screen. Black is the shortage of sunshine. Till 15-20 years in the past, gentle was used to light up the items. These days, the items are gentle. We’re solely working with gentle. 

BW: Are you able to inform me about your Agnosic collection? From what I can inform, it’s amongst your most figurative work, at the least of current, and it’s additionally your priciest Tezos collection that I used to be in a position to see at a look.

ALC: It was born after I was ending Hypnotic Machines and beginning Visible Beats as a result of in these two collection, I used to be focusing extra on the summary aspect and taking part in with frequency modulation.

So, I used to be learning this method, and I assumed, let’s do one thing semi-figurative. As a result of I play so much with the shortage of faces, for instance, with id, privateness, all of these items. So, I thought of agnosia. It’s a psychological sickness that causes folks to be unable to acknowledge faces. 

I thought of this time period, and I assumed, this method, the frequency modulation, that’s one thing like this as a result of it deludes you into the fundamental form with out shedding the form of a face. And on the identical time, utilizing this method that I began to name GIFtilism — it’s a semi-joke. I’m taking part in with the brand new paradigm opposing pointillism. As a result of pointillism was about utilizing the minimal factor of conventional artwork with the purpose. 

But when we translate this idea into digital, I invented GIFtilism as a result of the factor of digital artwork is a sq.. It isn’t a degree. And a sq. is created by 4 factors that create a aircraft. So taking part in with GIFtilism, I begin to create agnosis figures which can be created solely with black and white. I take advantage of this method whereas attempting to not lose the shapes. And I believe all of them, you’ll acknowledge anyone, however you don’t see anyone. 

It’s a paradox. They don’t have faces, however I do know all of them. I do know as a result of I don’t know them. 

And I want to say that it additionally was a type of a method as a result of, on Tezos, 1/1 aren’t actually valued and never very common. And I begin this previous 12 months attempting to interrupt this as a result of I don’t agree that our artwork or the value should rely on which blockchain it’s on. 

However from my viewpoint, I believe I’m not taking part in soiled as a result of my work is recognizable, and it’s mine. It’s not, okay, let’s use Tezos for these items, and let’s do Ethereum for extra revenue. And it’s working as a result of some Ethereum collectors found me on Tezos and now they’re amassing from Tezos. 

I believe diversification is a key phrase with decentralization. For me, they’re brothers. 


BW: Are any specific items that you simply really feel the strongest emotional connection to?

ALC: I don’t write songs, however I consider my items as songs. A few of them are stronger. I strive to not contain my feelings in a bit as a result of we’re human. Somedays, you assume, Oh, that is my greatest piece ever. And also you see it the following day, it’s like, Oh no, that is shit. 

Generally, I make items and allow them to relaxation. Perhaps every week later, I’m going examine. And if the piece nonetheless punches me within the face as if it wasn’t mine, these are those I select to mint.

I believe so much concerning the future. Some items are key to understanding the place you’ll go sooner or later. I’ve plenty of plans, and I produce plenty of work, so I attempt to mint items that can present the place I’ve been and the place I’m going. 

I can’t mint the whole lot I do. It might be loopy. It’s like I don’t write the whole lot I believe. I write so much, however I don’t write the whole lot. I’ve some good ideas, however they don’t need to be written. 

The items are the identical as a result of I produce quick. As a result of I do know my instruments, and I can do a bit in a single to 2 hours or every week, relying on the complexity. And generally this occurs. Like, okay, let’s relaxation for at some point, two days, three days, and once you really feel it, let’s examine. 

And since I believe the items that I mint will make sense sooner or later, it helps me to clarify later, This piece is after I established this fashion. It’s like minting a map of one thing I did. You ask very good questions. I have to say I’m having fun with this so much. Thanks. 

To cease is to advance

BW: Thanks. I’m having a good time getting these downloads from you. In the event you might give any piece of recommendation to your 20-year-old self about artwork making or creativity, what would you say?

ALC: Good query, however I’m very cussed, and I’d say to my 21-year-old self, stick with it. Actually. As a result of I realized plenty of issues in road artwork, face-to-face with folks, about find out how to cope with the idea of the artist and the idea of the actual individual.

However by 21, I used to be considering nearly precisely the identical [as I am now] within the phrases of the creative, or I used to be beginning to. However these days, I see all of the folks working in digital artwork, and I believe that I’m beginning once more as a result of there are people who find themselves out of this world, that I really feel, Wow, how can they try this? 

I’m conscious that if I’ve success, it’s not just for my work. It’s additionally due to how I attempt to translate my concepts into phrases. What I do in artwork is an excuse to do philosophy in a roundabout way. As a result of I like philosophy. I wish to theorize and take into consideration know-how, sociology, economics, and politics. However I really feel generally, if I clarify that in phrases, I lose time after I can clarify it in items. 

For instance, I’d inform 21-year-old me to stick with it however don’t really feel down when others make you are feeling down. It occurred to me. If I don’t reach one thing, I settle for it. But when different individuals are those which can be pushing you, when you realize that you’re by yourself method, attempt to hear much less to those folks.

I listened to some folks that I thought-about grasp artists, however I used to be unsuitable to do this. Digital artwork is one thing new. And the previous guidelines, the previous recommendation, a few of it doesn’t work anymore. We’ve got to invent new recommendation. And I believe that is what I’m attempting to do too. 

After I clarify one thing on Twitter, it’s to not assault anyone. Generally folks ask me issues, and I’ve to clarify what I’m doing as a result of it’s working for me, however perhaps not for others. Generally, it’s extra about constructing our personal recommendation by failing so much. As a result of I like failing. It’s like, okay, I failed, let’s strive once more. That’s higher than affecting what profitable artists did earlier than you. It labored for them, however perhaps not for you. 

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