“Predictive geometry and aesthetics. Combining form, content and time. Lucid dreaming. Becoming one with the moment, that kind of stuff, as well as cigarettes and eyeballs a plenty,” says American animator Dax Norman when asked to describe his work. Based in Austin, Texas where he’s spent most of his life, Dax’s looping animations feature melting faces in garish colours where body parts revolve and merge in never-ending cycles.
“I came up watching cartoons as a kid in the 1980s,” he tells It’s Nice That. Now, having worked on daily looping gifs since 2012, he still consciously seeks to emulate the style he first fell in love with in shows like Tom and Jerry, Looney Tunes and Ghostbusters. Dax splits his creative practice between two-dimensional looping animations and interactive three-dimensional video game animation, as well as teaching 3D Digital Art at the University of Texas in the School of Design and Creative Technologies.
To make his animations, Dax first begins with an existing image or a painting of his – usually one where he can visualise a surprising way to bring the image to life – and begins drawing on top of it, in Photoshop. He then layers up informal and spontaneous digital lines in a technique he’s developed, individually animating each element of the picture. This process allows Dax to break down the image in order to find something new and slowly build up a rhythm of motion for the animation.
In each looping gif, Dax embeds more than one perceptual narrative. This means he can tell a story but also leaves room for interpretation on successive viewings. “The looping format is a great way to try and stop a stranger from anywhere in the world, and hopefully make some momentary connection,” he explains.
Dax’s work is made with “constant change as a catalyst,” aiming to continuously create a forward momentum. He focusses intently on the aspects of the animation process that he enjoys watching the most – the movement – and makes this the emphasis of his own work.
His sequences consist of wobbly, intriguing movements that appear as if they may fall apart at any moment. They are fascinating in their weird and sometimes slightly disturbing characters that pull connections from seemingly disparate concepts to create altogether unexpected movements.
- Lukasz Rusznica journeys into the spirit world with his publication Subterranean River
- Photographer Josh Adam Jones challenges western preconceptions of the Middle East in XO
- Studio Above&Below uses code and emerging tech to improve our planet's wellbeing
- Studio Frith designs Kitty Travers' La Grotta Ices into "a book you want to lick"
- Vicki King explains how she uses photography to elevate the mundane
- Ailsa Johnson’s illustrations draw on the everyday magic of Japanese culture
- Adobe has added 665 new Monotype fonts to Creative Cloud
- Introducing The Graduates class of 2018!
- Swiss design practice Dinamo develops new visual identity for Tumblr
- America's getting a space force and wants Trump supporters to choose its logo
- Meet Adelia Lim, a graphic designer not afraid to poke a little fun at the industry
- "What is my opinion?": Graphic designer James Aspey's research-focused, typographic practice