07/12/2013 12:43 pm ET Updated Sep 11, 2013

The Evolution of the GIF Artist

By Kayla Bibeau

It's fun to watch art evolve. Traditional portrait painters, poets, musicians and sculptors have given way to contemporary interactive installation and graffiti artists decorating the sidewalks of Times Square. Today we add another modern creator to the list: the GIF artist, who tells a story told by compressing pictures into video frames via mouse and keyboard.

Graphics Interchange Format, or "GIFs", are those funny little moving pictures that we browse for hours on Tumblr, Señor GIF, Reddit, and any other bookmarked blogs you peruse for a mid-day distractions.

GIF success can be attributed to today's 140-character psyche, where we need to get to the good part, and we need to get to there now. With GIFs, you're brought directly to the money shot without wasting time watching a whole 9 minute, 46-second YouTube video your friend sent you. Not only are they short, sweet and to the point-- they provide an energetic emotional expression that gets your attention unlike any JPEG or PNG ever could.

These repeating art forms present the same kind of problem-solving requirements, constraints, and story-telling abilities that can be ascribed to art of less abbreviated mediums. It's looking more and more like we will be teaching our kids to use stereoscopic cameras instead of to mix primary colors and stay inside the lines. We're refining our art like we've refined our character usage; this is how we teach art in the new age.

This video features two such self-proclaimed "GIF artists" who treat us to an elevator pitch on GIFs and the process that goes into producing their own (although they make it look intimidatingly simple). Is there more than meets the eye to the art of the GIF? I guess we'll leave that up to you!