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 Russian artist Sasha Katz, who brings a softer vision of the web to our screens.
Sasha Katz was born and raised in Moscow, where she currently lives and works. She considers herself a multidisciplinary artist, making embroidery work and paper sculptures aside from the GIFs she's been creating for the past four years, which echo the soft aesthetic sensibility of blogger feminism.
Sasha says it can take her anywhere from a couple of hours to several days to make a GIF. Her process involves taking notes on inspiring images and returning to them later to visually explore what she might have meant by a phrase like "pink liquid flowing out of an object."
Sasha began her computer art-making career creating pixel art, a technique that involves rendering digital images pixel-by-pixel, similar to the process of embroidery. Now she uses Cinema 4D to create her GIFs, which gives them a 3D look, but she hasn't abandoned the "pixel square' as a visual element – she often constructs human-made objects with hard squares and vegetation with softer, organic lines.
For the most part, these distinctions are clear, but occasionally soft flora will permeate hard technology or a screen will collapse into a rippling plane.
Sasha says "I believe in a future where people will be robotized and attached to computers." Although she contemplates the blurry boundary between humans and digital technology, she's not anxious about surveillance, asserting that her work explores the symbiosis and love between organic entities and technologies.
Sweets, flowers, and computers are recurring and beloved visual themes in Sasha's GIFs. Like angsty teen girl blogs, some of Sasha's GIFs conceal a melancholic interior beneath a pastel facade.
Below is her favorite GIF. She says, "This is a sad GIF and this is what I love it for."