GIPHY Artist Spotlight: Jamie Wolfe's Hand-drawn Homunculi

GIPHY Artist Spotlight: Jamie Wolfe's Hand-drawn Homunculi

By Michael Worthy

Seeing as how the GIF has become an integral part of modern communication, PAPER is teaming up with our friends at GIPHY Arts to spotlight up-and-coming artists who are taking the medium to the next level. This week, we have Jamie Wolfe's frenetic, fluid humanoids.

Jamie Wolfe is an artist and animator currently based in LA and attending graduate school at CalArts. Recently, Wolfe has been concentrating on creating hand-drawn work, including a series of surreal and rhythmically evocative GIFs focused on abstracted figuration.

Working within the self imposed limitations of ink and brush Wolfe begins her process through intuition and improvisation.

"I'm usually thinking about ten things at once, so it's rare when I sit down with a singular idea or plan," says Wolfe. She draws from a wide spectrum of influence to help her capture her conscious and unconscious mind, including Dadaism and California Funk Art. Cell animation and novelty tchotchkes all find purchase in her spasming menagerie.

The results resemble a Kawanabe Kyōsai painting animated by Bill Plympton or the pages of Horror Hospital Unplugged come to life. And while the GIFs on their own are fluid and evocative, Wolfe is interested in making a larger work that can be seen en masse and which at first overwhelms the viewers.

"I'm really attracted to the frenetic energy that comes from a massive grid of wild GIFs playing side by side," she says. It's easy to imagine Wolfe's GIFs as a wall, initially blasting forth with the seemingly arrhythmic timing of abstract jazz but, like an Ornette Coleman record, in time revealing intricate and contrasting patterns."There is something delicious to me about the structured chaos."

Within that structured chaos Wolfe's handmade creations injects an organic and throbbing life to digital media.

Visit Jamie Wolfe's website for more information on her work (you can also check out her Instagram and Twitter), and learn more about GIPHY Arts by following along on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.