Artist name: Bill Tavis
Featured Work 1: Woah
“In honor of the original getting 100,000 notes, I created a new color version. Enjoy!”
Bill Tavis creates these hypnotic, layered, morphing gifs with programs he has coded himself.
Featured Work 2: Psychedelic Tree
5 Questions for the Artist:1. What is art to you?
“Art is a complex symbolic language which generates culture and therefore is crucial to society, art helps to define our dreams and aspirations, and art can be a physical relic of intangible emotional and spiritual states. Art reveals the infinitude of imagination. An artist, by tapping into their deepest center, can create something that simultaneously expresses something very personal to that specific moment in the artist’s life, and yet also expresses a timeless universal truth. Art is healing (both to make and to observe) and harbors incredible magical powers. And yet despite all that grandeur – art is absurd, it is narcissistic, and it is wasteful. It is this apparent paradox which makes it so intriguing for me to explore year after year.”
2. What did you make in the past, and why?
“Several years ago I saw myself as an oil painter and I got quite good at it, but somehow between moving across the country and starting a new career, it fell by the wayside. I do still occasionally paint on canvas and I dream of someday really getting back into it. Around this time I also drew my first halftone images by hand with ink on paper; it was very labor intensive but it planted the seed of my current work. I have always explored many different avenues of visual expression, and I think the mark of a true artist is someone that can create something beautiful given any medium – whether it’s oil painting with fancy brushes, or drawing in the sand with a stick.”
3. What are you making now, and why?
“For the last two years, I have concentrated much of my time and energy on creating looping gif animations. I have made around 500 of them now, and the one thing they all have in common is my signature moving halftone style, in which lines of varying width are drawn to create the illusion of a tonal or color image. Many times I use the Mandelbrot Set or other fractals to create mesmerizing patterns, while other times smoother lines are used. This creates a depth to the imagery in which there is the gestalt world of the tonal image I am depicting, and there is the local abstract world of the pattern which draws it. When I make a gif I usually am seeking to find a balance between the two worlds, although sometimes I make things that are purely abstract. The halftone lines are drawn with a program I coded myself in c++, and the majority of the fractals are also generated by software I wrote myself.”
4. What are your hopes for the future?
“I hope to continue developing the halftone style. My Tumblr page continues to grow in popularity and it’s awesome to have such a large online audience, so I intend to keep posting gifs – 1,000, here I come! There are many other possibilities for me to explore as well. I am currently working on a surreal music video for Nathan Felix which will be done entirely in this style. Some of my gifs were recently displayed as part of an international traveling art show, and I would love to find more opportunities like that to share my work in venues outside the internet. Halftones reproduce well in many mediums so I would like to also explore making large scale print works. Beyond that, in a more general sense, I hope to make a positive difference in the world with my artwork.”
Artist Supplied Background:
“Bill Tavis (pronounced TAY-viss) began life as a mail-order frog in the mid 1980’s. Even as a tadpole, he had a special presence about him. After living a long and healthy life as a pet, the frog died and Tavis found a new place to stay – in the mind of his previous owner who suddenly made art a primary focus in life. Now Tavis is free from the aquarium and can interact with the world through visual expression.”
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