French illustrator Geoffroy de Crécy’s looping animations and gifs came about when he began to develop his style having previously worked as an illustrator/graphist in the video game industry. “I wanted to make something visually different from the aesthetic of CG animated shorts I did before,” explains Geoffroy. “These new pictures were flat, geometric and graphic. I was happy with these still images, but my old animation background said something was missing. The only way to animate an illustration and keep it ‘illustrative’ is to make a loop.”
Seeing loops as the midway between illustration and animated clips, there’s a satisfying and hypnotic tone to Geoffroy’s work, which takes inspiration from an unlikely source, photography. “Artists like William Eggleston and Stephen Shore fascinate me with pictures of unusual objects or places without human subjects in the frame,” says the illustrator. “In their pictures, objects, places and textures are a strong testimony of their times.”
For the loops, Geoffroy works with a handful of constraints, the main one being that each one must depict something “commonplace and as usual as possible”. “The loop must be infinite (by definition), it must need no human action, and the animated subject must be a machine,” adds Geoffroy. “The rules don’t allow for many possibilities, so sometimes I just have to find ideas that go into this framework.”
The illustrator works straight into 3D software – avoiding the sketchbook completely – and works up simple shapes, which he plays around with by experimenting with angles and framing. “I then create the animation and polish the light and colours,” he says. There’s a great use of light and shadow throughout Geoffroy’s portfolio adding depth and texture throughout. Using inanimate objects as his subjects, Geoffroy dabbles with personifying the machines he loops, with toothbrushes mischievously vibrating in a cup and an automatic tennis ball launcher seeming almost nonchalant about its duties.
Geoffroy works on the loops in his spare time and his commissioned work often sees him work with stop motion animation and live action. “With the loops, beyond their graphic pleasure, I think they engage people because of the strange feeling they produce, and the questions they rouse: Do the machines need us? Where are the people? What happened? It’s an echo to a dramatic event that has just happened.”
About the Author
Rebecca Fulleylove is a freelance writer and editor specialising in art, design and culture. She is also senior writer at Creative Review, having previously worked at Elephant, Google Arts & Culture, and It’s Nice That.