To celebrate International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, GIPHY Studio commissioned six women GIF artists to illustrate their favorite female role models. From Harper Lee to Frida Kahlo, each artist’s choice is a deeply personal one. We asked each artist to describe how they chose to portray their choices. and why it is important that others know about the person.
Harper Lee by Maria Bacila
To Kill A Mockingbird was one of my teenage bibles, read and re-read tens of times. It wasn't until later on in my life I fully comprehended what this book really meant in the context of the american 60's, what it meant for social justice and anti-discrimination fighters and what it meant for women. My heart broke the day I heard she passed away.
I couldn't get myself to deliver a "happy" portrait of her no matter how hard I tried, so I settled for a bitter-sweet, melancholic one. The elements are symbols from her beloved novel.
Miranda July by Love Matea
Miranda July's work means a great deal to me because it makes me feel comfortable and understood. I'm constantly shouting, "YES!" in my head when reading her written work. I think many people would benefit from seeing the world through her eyes because she is able to deliver big ideas in relatable and poetic ways.
This piece was made in traditional, frame by frame animation, paired with digital assembling and colouring. I wanted to depict a moment of thought in this animation. A moment in which something grabs your eye and your mind takes it to a new place. I love those moments. When you make something new again.
Frida Kahlo by Bia Sanches
As a woman Frida Kahlo definitely fought the conventions of her time, either through her appearance, her love life and her field of work. She was a pioneer woman into art and surrealism, a very manly field. Having an admirable strength to deal with adversities in life, full of health problems, she managed to use her work and painting to transcend a life full of pain into creating her own unique universe.
Her work has a major influence in my illustrations, as she brings this lively pattern work into her folk art style. And she also sees things through a naive visual perspective of reality. For this piece I decided the gif would be a great tool to explore Frida's multifaceted personality. An opportunity to create an homage to this great plural artist.
Kate Bush by Louise Boulter
Kate Bush is an inspiring true original singer-songwriter, who never bowed to pressures to conform in the music industry.
My inspiration was taken from Kate Bush's music video for Wuthering Heights. It was key for me to portray her feminine theatrical movements and gestures. Technically I animated her loosely in ink so that her arms move gently side to side alongside other little movements like her hair blowing in the wind and the wiggle of her hips.
Georgia O'Keeffe by Amelia Giller
It is important to know about Georgia O'Keeffe because she not only made beautiful paintings, but she lived a life full of intention and fearlessness. I found this quote when I was researching her a little bit for this GIF: "I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life - and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do." I think that's such important advice as an artist!
O'Keeffe often painted skulls in her work, and so I have chosen to feature this icon in the GIF. I also have animated a silly O'Keeffe sliding on the skull because I wanted to show that fearless side of her. In photos, she appears calm and contemplative, so I thought it fun to play on her stoicism by making a really fun GIF.
Lucille Ball by Hannah Nance
Lucille Ball is a hugely influential female comedian/actress/producer - specializing in physical comedy starting in the 1940s, a time when few female comedians were getting any air time, let alone producing their own shows. She was the first female to run a major television studio (Desilu Productions). As arguably the most famous interracial couple in television, she and her husband Desi Arnaz helped promote inclusion in Hollywood decades before that was even a concept.
I became a fan of Lucy because I grew up watching I Love Lucy reruns on Nick at Nite when I was a kid. It aired in 1951, so it's all in black and white and the styling of the show is just gorgeous. I wanted to portray Lucy in her classically silly way - depicting her beauty and incredible expressive comedy in a way that was reminiscent of the aesthetic of that show.