These mind-melting GIFs are surrealism for the digital age.
If Salvador Dalí was lucky enough to live in the age of the GIF, he might have made something like the cinematic dreams of Milos Rajkovic, a.k.a., Sholim. That is, if he could figure out how to use AfterEffects, anyway.
But this is the 21st century, and Sholim’s creations are stretching the art form of the looping animated image far past its humble roots. By combining vintage film clips with animated effects, Sholim crafts surreal dreamscapes that hark back to the works of M.C. Escher, and Terry Gilliam, but these are arguably better, because they move (and are packed with enough detail that you’ll want to watch them over and over again).
“I use Photoshop and After Effects for animation,” Sholim says. “For material, sometimes I shoot footage myself or use interesting materials from old movies, specifically from Yugoslavian movies from 70s and 80s that I really love.” He also incorporates some clips from American made-for-TV movies. The clunky acting and grainy footage are perfectly suited for surrealism’s inherent silliness, but be sure that you can take these pieces seriously.
In the Dream series and throughout Sholim’s work, there’s one obvious theme: wild, blank, disembodied or cut-out eyes. “Visually, something really strange happens when I create blank-eyed characters,” he says. “It's very creepy and beautiful at the same time, because you don't know whether they can't see or just feel what's going on around them. That creates a mysterious atmosphere that I really love in art.”
I asked Sholim about his influences, expecting to hear about the great 20th century artists. Instead, he replied: “The entire internet is my influence. There is a lot of creativity, stupidity, and even memes that can create a spark of inspiration.”
Beyond the Dreams gif series featured here, Sholim’s work includes years’ worth of animations to explore, including steampunk-style machines made out of classic sculptures, Santa Claus pooping in your Christmas present, several commentaries on politics and business culture, and some very creepy Army recruiters.
Make your brain bleed with lots more GIFs and updates, all on Sholim's website.