Blog / 2021 / GIF Gifts

February 1, 2021

We’re at the stage of the pandemic where I’m making silly GIFs of my art, and it all started with Fishmas, a Christmas replacement that a dear friend brought into my life back in 2019.

Merry Fishmas GIF

In December, I made this GIF with my friend in mind, because I knew it would bring her a bit of joy in this eternal winter of COVIDinsurrection* and because I guessed that she would share it with the Fishmas-lovers in her life, thus spreading the cheer a bit further. Here is a phone-friendly version of this GIF—the one above is sized for my site and therefore a bit big for texting.

In order to make this GIF, I ended up using elements from the background of the original goldfish painting to shape a Santa hat for the little guy, a detail that made me proud of my photo editing skills and that also inspired me to see what else I could make.

unicow mom and baby art GIF

Which brings us to this pair. For a decade now I’ve been making images of the Chinese zodiac animal to mark the new year, and, since 2021 overlaps with the year of the ox starting later this month, I’d already made this rainbow unicow artwork.

It became a question of how to GIFfy up the image, a puzzle that took me down some incredibly tacky roads involving all the filters in my photo editor. I eventually settled on a heart theme, because it also makes for a fun Valentine’s Day GIF for people who like to send love to their moms or their children. This is the textable version of the unicows.

squirrel with nuts fun art GIF

This nutty squirrel is the first of my GIFfing adventures that’s not linked to a specific holiday. It’s a fairly simple two-image animation, and it made me realize that my new GIF obsession qualifies as an expression of time soup, since these simple repeating animations feel a lot like life in lockdown.

Here’s the phone version, and this where you can buy prints and t-shirts, sans animation obvi.

squirrel unraveling her brain fun art GIF

This squirrel was originally painted in 2019, but since unraveling one’s brain very much matches the mood of unrelenting pandemic self-isolation, it felt right to animate it. This version is sized for texting.

I’m not sure how long this hobby of GIFfing my art will last, but, for now, it’s part of a whole battery of self-care activities that I’m using to hold onto my sanity. GIF-making, experimenting in the kitchen with results both scrumptious and inedible, and doing YouTube dance tutorials badly: these are my lifelines.

* I know the attack on the Capitol happened after Christmas, but anyone refusing to acknowledge that 45 began whipping up this coup well before the election desperately needs therapy in order to help them reconnect with reality. Same for those pretending that American white supremacist terrorists are done trying to overthrow our government.


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