animated mural art aerial photograph

INSA and a Small Army of Painters Made the World’s Biggest GIF

Even with street art, we often think of painting as capturing some sort of singular moment or idea. It stands still. It can reference something coming or look backwards to something that happened, it can be erased or added to, but it always stays still. This, along with many, many other assumptions, is something INSA thinks the world can do differently.

The artist, who prefers to keep his identity secret, believes that the internet has changed art, and that this gives artists an incredible opportunity to change the way traditional notions of painting are expressed. For INSA, it started with the GIF (check out Gif-iti), those almost slideshow type pictures we see online. They’ve been used for everything from silly animations to seemingly sustaining Buzzfeed, but they all rely on a variety of still images that are given the illusion of movement. Y’know, like animation.

INSA saw this idea and decided to apply the idea of the gif to street art, starting with creating gifs from his own paintings. Usually, he would paint a wall, take a picture, paint over the wall and paint another picture, and do this until he had enough pictures to create a gif. From there, he uploads it online for people to see. These all show off INSA’s obvious talents and breadth of style, but he wanted to do something bigger. Much, much bigger. Like, seen from space bigger.

So INSA headed down to one of the world’s best street art countries, Brazil, to make a gif that you can see from space. With detailed ideas about what he wanted, he employed a small army to paint a large, open concrete pad with four different images, one a day for when a satellite came over and took a picture. The result is the world’s first gif seen from a satellite.

The experiment resulted in 576 man hours and 57,515 square miles of painted surface, all in just four days, to create his biggest art project yet. The gif itself is of pink and yellow hearts, inverting in colour each day and moving slightly over to create the movement. It’s perfect for the setting: taking in Brazil’s love of bold colour schemes while sending a message of love out to the world, and the heavens.

True to his love of anonymity, INSA’s face and eyes are blocked from the camera, and he spends the video giving credit to those people that put in the long hours and hard work to make his vision possible. And once it’s out on the internet, he’s happy to continue to take a back seat. “I think the possibility of interpretation is limited when people think of the singular creator.” Like so much on the internet today, INSA prefers to leave the real discussions to the comments section.