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Pixel Painting

The process of making painting into GIF's

I have worked making iPad sketches, paintings and collages. Due to the nature of screens, pixels and how you create images I always found the finished work to have something missing. This began the starting research point for my final year dissertation. The result of this GIF making process seemed to be the truest reflection of my painting practice in digital form. The looped animations on show in the Peter Scott Gallery for the degree show are the final three taken from GIFBANANA (visual Gif diary) which was created over the process of creating my final year paintings. They evolved organically on the side as the paintings developed.

The process began with taking colours, photographs and shapes out of my paintings and collaging them digitally into images on iPad painting software. I enjoyed the process of creating the digital paintings however I don't know whether its because they were on a screen or they took less time than an actual painting or this ineffable something which makes them not feel like work to me. I then discovered that the software has a feature which allows you to export a video of the creation of the work,and save to your camera roll. Like an animation, it shows you the work in creation from start to finished. Though seeing my work as an animation something still wasn't quite right.

I then decided to try my hand at GIF creation as the idea of a short endless video fascinated me, it reminded me of the way I could find my eyes darting round and round my paintings trying to take in the busyness of the works. I downloaded a simple video editing app designed for quick social media, allowing fast basic editing to upload straight to Instagram (thus the square shape of the GIF's) and had various cliche effects and features. One of the features was a scanner effect, this simple effect allowed me to push and pull my finger around the video (exported from the painting software) as it was playing. My finger began pushing pixels around playing with the shapes, colours moving lines around. The movements of my hands were affecting the speed and look of the video simultaneously. As the software gave me as long as the time length of the video to make the edits, this process though technically basic and fast, felt authentic in comparison to the static digital paintings, they became my own spontaneous responses to my work.

Once the video's were looped into GIF's they seemed to work as paintings than the static screen image. For my Peter Scott Gallery piece, I mounted these onto one of my old paintings. Specifically choosing the iPads by colours to work with the painting and made the videos on the screen line up with certain elements of the physical work. It became not just an experiment in developing the digital side to my practice but an effort to see how the two can work together aesthetically. I wanted the viewer to be able to look past the iPad frames and the GIF's to become as much a collaged elment to my work as a leaflet or photo transfer.

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