Can't. Look. Away.
You don't need a spaceship or an interdimensional portal gun to visit new worlds—just take a trip to GIF artist Hayden Zezula, a.k.a. Zolloc's, website. There you'll find electric oceans, gravity-defying sludge, people made from bubbles, and worlds within worlds within worlds. Zezula's eye for color and talent at creating perfect loops make each GIF a miniature journey into his daydream-fueled mind.
When Zezula isn't making art for the likes of Game of Thrones or Electric Objects, he's designing tour visuals for bands like Ratatat, working on a virtual reality video game, and honing his practice in the solitude of his Brooklyn apartment. "A lot of my work is problem solving," he tells The Creators Project. "I get an idea that I don't know how to do and make something new with it."
He has a fiercely independent attitude toward his craft, constantly working toward the day he can spend 100% of his time developing new kinds of art. Despite this, he frequently collaborates with fellow NYC GIF artists like Sam Cannon and Matthias Brown, remixing each other's unique styles like some sort of mutant GIF beast that's come to steal your children's tiny attention spans. Some of his GIFs, though, might be a little too creepy for children, since they feature morphing limbs, creepy baby clones, and disembodied bodies. The Creators Project spoke to the mind that created these mesmerizing mini-worlds about how he got started in GIF art, why he keeps his loops perfect, and what he's up to next.
The Creators Project: When and why did you start making GIF art?
Hayden Zezula: I had been animating for a while and making video GIFs separately. Pretty silly but one day it just clicked to add the two things together. It was early 2013 when I deleted everything from my Zolloc blog and transitioned to loops.
How would you describe your style to someone who had never seen it?
Monochromatic endless looping art.
You have a very distinctive, very GIF-friendly color palette. How do you decide which colors go with which forms?
I keep a collection of colors on my phone. I play around with them. I will usually come up with a concept for a piece with the exact colors in mind.
Run me through the process of making your average animation.
A lot of my work is problem solving. I get an idea that I don't know how to do and make something new with it.
How important is it for the loop to be perfect?
It's very important for the pieces to seamlessly. If there is a jump then you have a disconnect. Part of what makes the work so mesmerizing is you don't know when it starts and stops.
How do people generally react to your art?
I think a lot of people are intrigued when they first see my work. I try to keep things familiar and also creepy. I want people to be uneasy when they see a baby with multiple body parts.
How do you both support yourself and maintain your independence as an artist?
I make a lot of art for brands in my style. It's great because it never really feels like work. I'm just free to create and put a lot of time into my personal work.
You've been making perfect loops for a while. Where do you see the medium going?
It's already changing really fast from when I started. With the improvement of looping video on platforms It's moving from 30 frame loops to 200-500 frame loops. I can get away with more. I've been working with musicians to get original music loops made for my work.
What new, projects do you have coming up?
I've been focusing a lot on personal projects with things like tangible series making 3D prints of my work. I'm also in the early stages of a new device to display digital looping art.
Stay up to date with Zolloc's work on his website.