Leah Stella Stephens

@stellabelle

For The Love of GIF

GIF Source from Reaction Gifs

I was talking with a guy named Jason yesterday in the pixEOS Telegram channel and it was a weird moment when I realized we both use GIFs to express our emotions more than any other medium, even talking face-to-face with people.

message with Jason

He also told me he quit all the other social media platforms, so Telegram was his remaining way of communicating with people and he said he uses GIFs A LOT. I can’t exactly recall when my own GIF addiction started, but it’s been strong for a while now. There are a number of reasons why I think GIFs are such a big part of my life and why I think they are important.

Do You Speak GIF?

Giphy search: Tim and Eric
Giphy search: mind blown
Azealia Banks
Nicholas Cage
Oprah

Another weird thing that is happening: since I quit Facebook, and many of my previous artist platforms are being disrupted by newer ones, I feel really fragmented as an artist, with my stuff being scattered all over the web. Some platforms that I used to post on are now struggling, and with it, my stuff i s just kind of hanging in mid-web, withering from lack of human attention…..even on Facebook I have tons of my art and random images in there that I am somehow still attached to, but leaving Facebook has done wonders for my mind.

I feel more attached to GIFs for this one main reason: I use GIFs to express my emotions and more people interact with them (and me) than any of my “art”.

I work online, every day. Interacting with people on the internet is my main gig.

I have begun to share my Giphy channel as my “artist portfolio”, because Giphy is not going anywhere. People want to share something short that expresses their emotions and it seems universal, crossing countries and cultures. It’s so much easier to convey an emotional reaction with a GIF than typing out a long text tirade.

In some ways, I feel that GIFs have become my primary communication tool, and I am still working towards my ultimate GIF creation (I have not yet made any one GIF that I consider truly extraordinary). Everytime I see something, I quietly ask myself, “I wonder how that would look in a GIF?”

Here’s my GIF channel (in GIF form, of course):

GIFs Have The Power To Create Personalized Memes

I believe GIFs are the collective consciousness of modern humans. Sharing is what we do. Recombining them is a natural thing for us to do, too. A lot of people (including myself) also feel a strong reaction to this Blink 182 WTF GIF. I have a weird obsession with mullets (and a large collection of mullet wigs) and also I love the ‘WTF’ and ‘dafuq’ expressions. I spend a lot of time saying ‘wtf’ to myself, as a deeply critical person unhappy with the current state of humanity. I think I have literally watched this GIF loop hundreds of times (we’ll get to this attention issue later).

GIF Source from Reaction Gifs

So, as you can see, it then gets ported over to the Matrix theme which is truly hysterical, it makes me laugh every time. It’s like our generation, all of us are currently entering the land of AI, but none of us are really ready for it:

From Reddit Reaction GIFs

And then to a Homer Simpson cartoon:

And I got inspired to create my own Tom DeLonge WTF GIF for the PixEOS project, for which I am working, after I saw the Matrix one. This one took me a long time, as I hand cut out each frame of the WTF Tom DeLonge GIF and then reassembled it in Giphy:

From Stellabelle’s Giphy Channel

This GIF has significance to me.

I feel like the pixEOS project is made up of really colorful, positive people, and the crypto folks, who are used to kind of a harsh, and scammy environment are shocked when they first come into the pixEOS Telegram channel. We kill people with kindness, and the above GIF expresses that condition. At least this is how I feel about it.

That WTF Tom DeLonge GIF has kind of taken on a life of its own and traveled through the collective psyche of people like me.

It’s like these little clips of emotions get sent to our subconscious, where they weave new stories that have significance, and emotional impacts that go way beyond the initial creation. I never saw that Blink 182 video. I didn’t even realize this GIF came from that. In my mind, it came from someone else’s dream, then entered mine, after it got recombined with my own experiential narrative, where it recombined and told a different story.

Short Attention Spans

Like many people on the internet, I have a weird mix of a short attention span and obsessive detail, hyper focus issues, maybe a mix of hyper focus and ADD….. I get hooked on something new easily, whether it’s a new idea, or GIF, or whatever, and then I tend to obsess over it for a while. Once I have exhausted it, I move on to something else.

I have a craving to be always learning something new. My GIF obsessions fit right in perfectly with this condition and feeds it. I prefer to make art that moves, like videos, but things I can do quickly. I’d rather spend one day making 10 GIFs, than 10 days making one high quality video. This explains why I am so focused on GIFs.

When I finally make a GIF I am proud of, I will write about it. Until then, check out my Giphy channel to see what I am up to: https://giphy.com/channel/stellabelle

The project I’m involved with now, pixEOS, is currently having a GIF Contest and it runs until January 19, 2019. If your GIF wins, you can win prizes. Hosting a GIF contest for pixEOS is like a dream come true.

Cheers,
Stellabelle

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