Animating Street Art with INSA

animated street art GIF by INSA

GIFs are used for small animations, but I’m not usually a fan of them because I think some projects are just better off as videos, otherwise they just look like random disjointed images bundled together. I respect creative freedom, but I prefer clean transitions much like in the image above by UK-based artist, INSA.

Graffiti has always been interesting to photograph as both a subject and a background. The colors, character and movement in the art makes it a pleasure to photograph, but sometimes it can benefit from a little more life. By capturing the street art in an animated GIF, we see it come to life in an incredible way.

animated street art GIF by INSA

INSA paints large-scale street art pieces in careful detail. Walls, trucks and other surfaces are his canvasses. It takes a few days to complete each art piece because one animated GIF is composed of several images. Each phase of the GIF is painted on, photographed, then painted over before being photographed again, and so on. I can only imagine the amount of detail put into such a large-scale project, not to mention the creativity involved in the actual paintings. I’m not much of a painter (unless we’re talking two mountains and a sun in between), so I admit I’m easily impressed.

animated street art GIF by INSA

Each piece was done by hand and not by a mouse, meaning the variations in the images were not manipulated by fancy editing software. “Photoshop generally comes in at the end, when I’ve done all of the painting and photographed all of the layers. I upload and overlay all of the images and create a GIF,” he says in an interview conducted by Adobe.
Some good old-fashioned elbow grease and manpower was put to use here.

He also mentions some encounters with the law in the interview:

Yes. It comes as part of the territory – graffiti by definition is illegal and so most of my younger years were spent breaking the law. This inevitably ended up with numerous court appearances and a short time in prison. This was, of course, long before graffiti was rebranded as ‘street art,’ and artists could make money and travel the world as celebrities!

Here’s a behind-the-scenes time-lapse video of one of the pieces in the making:

animated street art GIF by INSAanimated street art GIF by INSAanimated street art GIF by INSAanimated street art GIF by INSAanimated street art GIF by INSAanimated street art GIF by INSA

Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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