INSA, as the undercover street artist is cryptically known, is the net generation’s equivalent of the legendary graffiti artist Banksy. While INSA’s doodles also dapple the walls of buildings in London as well as around the world, the artist creates GIFs—or “GIF-ITIs” as he calls them—based on photographs of his own graffiti paintings.
He shoots these over and over with slight alterations in each frame in a technique not unlike stop motion animation until he can make a loop of images—essentially what a GIF, or Graphic Interchange Format, is. In a cyber wasteland of GIFs composed of cat pictures and film snippets, INSA’s artistic “GIF-ITIs” have made waves online.
Recently, Scotch whiskey brand Ballantine’s commissioned INSA to create the world’s largest GIF in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, inspired by INSA’s trademark “Looking For Love” motif. Four days of work, a 20-person team of painters and over 619,000 square feet worth of paint went into creating a mural of repeating yellow and pink hearts. The mural was then photographed over two days with a camera-equipped satellite orbiting 430 miles above the earth. Given the massive wherewithal that went into the project, the result is a little underwhelming—to say nothing of the fact that it’s only viewable online. The end result is an animation of moving hearts with the before-and-after shots of boats pulling in and out of the harbor and the receding sunlight reflected on the water.
INSA’s GIF-ITIs have even inspired an iPhone app, which enables the user to point the iPad at a GIF-ITI and watch it animate on-screen. Take a look at some of INSA’s other work below.