GIFS And Gaming

A Series Of Old School GIFS We Can All Relate To

In a compelling merging of old-school gaming and modern life, illustrator Ailadi creates GIFS on a daily basis using the PETSCII characters. Humorous, thought-provoking and at times spookily familiar, the Shanghai-based artist brings the characters of the Commodore 8-bit computers (circa 1970’s) into both familiar and unfamiliar settings.


Setting the task of one animation per day in order to continually stretch the imagination and push creative boundaries, Ailadi mainly designs the GIFS at night in order that they may be a reflection of the day just passed. The images are current, reflecting the good, the bad and the ugly of our society and perhaps most intriguingly, give an insight into the mind of their creator.

Ailadi describes GIFS as a ‘snack-able’ medium – each is freestanding, encompassing it’s own story and yet can also be strung together to create a series with coherent themes running through it. The GIFS are simple, we do not need to study them for hours like some art forms, a few seconds is all we need to understand what is happening. We live in a society where we are constantly on the go, our minds always moving and in search of the next stimulae and Ailadi’s series allows for this. It doesn’t force us to expend lots of energy on it, it is straight-forward: a momentary interlude, which perhaps allows us to make light of our present situations and go back to them all the more upbeat.


Read below to find out what Ailadi had to say on GIFS and growing up.

The Plus: What lead you to create this animated gif series?
This somehow is the reiteration of Night drops, a 1-year of daily drawings series I did in 2011, but the medium is very different. In 2011 I used acrylic paint on 4x4cm coloured paper while now it’s completely digital. The GIF series is the ongoing result of a collaboration with Jambonbill that created the program I’m using.


TP: What is the creative process for creating your gifs?
The aesthetic is determined by a technological constraint, the character set of 8-bit computers, PETSCII. I like how the game mood combines with subjects of daily life using a mainstream format like GIF. GIFs are good storytellers for glitchy glimpses.


TP: How do you decide which gif goes up on which day? Is there a set order to it?
I draw mostly in the evening before going to bed, I choose something that happened during the day, a news story, something I liked or that surprised me and portray it and share it on different social media. Both to draw and to animate I’m using the same software created by my friend. It is constantly getting better and I’m excited to keep exploring new ways of ‘petsciing’.


TP: The collection is humorous yet also has a more serious undertone to it, one which seems to mock societal norms, what message are you trying to convey to your audience?
I’m expressing my point of view not stating a message. I’m portraying my life, telling some thoughts and sometimes documenting what happens around that catches my attention, what matters to my eyes.


TP: Why do you prefer to work with gifs over other artistic mediums?
It’s a very snack-able medium, quite suited to a project of daily sharing.

TP: Tell us a little bit more about yourself (perhaps your journey in China too)?
My background is design, I worked as a visual designer in frog before switching to a freelance mode to have more time to follow personal projects. Now I’ve been living in Shanghai for over 4 years. I like living here, things happens fast and this makes it easy and very approachable to try out things/test ideas/create prototypes and installations. Despite I think Italians and Chinese have a lot in common, the culture is very different and keeps triggering my curiosity/thoughts/doubts/questions. I love to cycle around Shanghai, you can always see something that is charming in a peculiar way. Chinese people live the street a lot and I can’t stop to see the beauty of sharing more the public space, transforming a corner of a street into a ballroom or playing mahjong/chess/cards in front of their store.


TP: Is this still on-going? What next for you?
Yes, i’m not sure how long it will go, 100 days? one year? For now I enjoy the process, but there is a lot I’d like to explore on how to create/display/reproduce/interact with other media, let’s see how it goes 🙂