Dec 18, 2012 3:58PM

Oyster Profile: FashGif

We interview Greta Larkins, the woman behind one of our Favourite Tumblrs of All Time.
Viktor & Rolf Spring 2012 RTW

One of our favourite pieces of internet brilliance this year has been FashGif — the Australian GIFmaster who rules Tumblr's fashion realm with her artful animations. Some are blink-and-you'll-miss-it subtle, some are flashing in hypercolour and acid-induced trippy, but all are brimming with wit and make you wish that all JPEGs moved. She's been commissioned by bigwigs like Calvin Klein, Kenzo, The Huffington Post, and Oyster — she animated this year's Paris and New York Fashion Weeks for us, and helped celebrate the birthday of Alexa Chung. Her "real" name is Greta, and we decided to get to know her a little better before she herself shrinks down to two pixels tall and jumps into the internet once and for all, à la Mike Teavee in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Ingrid Kesa: Let's take a trip down memory lane... tell us about the very first GIF you ever made.
Greta Larkins: It was a kind of strange GIF of a friend standing in a field and a stick floated into frame and he caught it. It didn't take too long to make as I already had some Photoshop experience, but I remember being so excited about it. Like, maybe unhealthily excited about it?! Sadly that GIF has been lost in the depths of my inbox somewhere but the second GIF I ever made was my first one for FashGif. I started making them just under two years ago.

So how has your artistic GIF practice expanded since then?
Vastly! Sometimes I look back at some of my earlier GIF work and I can see so many mistakes [laughs]. For months I didn't realise Tumblr had GIF size restrictions so a lot of my earlier ones had too many frames and didn't move in the dashboard. I now test them religiously — no point posting a GIF if it appears as a still image. My Photoshop skills have also expanded which, in turn, means I can experiment with more extreme ideas and concepts. If I know I'm about to embark on two hours of Photoshop work I need to be pretty convinced the completed GIF will have a good impact. It's a matter of balancing the effort versus the result. If you're new to Photoshop, Google is your friend. Ask it questions.

You must be a bit of a JPEG hoarder. Are you obsessed with grabbing images from the internet? Are you anal about your desktop and computer filing system?
You guys are living in my brain! I'm, like, JPEG hoarder 101. I'm mainly obsessed with hi-res images, I just love them; no point saving a tiny thumbnail. I'm currently collecting anything and everything to do with Frida Kahlo. So 'Internet' of me. Any unusual or striking image, I grab. Tumblr is great because you can 'like' things and it stores your likes, so this has definitely reduced my need to drag and drop. I try to tidy my desktop weekly, but I have a scary folder called 'SORT SORT SORT' that, yes, I need to sort. Nick Drake (not the singer) is the master of wicked pop-culture-must-save-to-desktop images.

On average, how long does it take you to bang a GIF up?
Usually about 45 minutes if it's fairly juicy but I can do them in under five if the concept isn't too loco. I'd say three hours is the longest I've spent on one image. One thing I chant to myself when I'm working on something complex is, "forest through the trees." Basically this is a reminder to zoom out and step away from the image. Even if you leave something for just five or ten minutes, grab a drink, scratch your head, stretch your legs, when you come back to it you can see the "forest through the trees" and begin working on it in a new light. Or give the idea up! When you're zoomed in on an image, manipulating the pixels, you easily forget the bigger picture (literally) and can alter something too much. It's like how Coco Chanel says to take one thing off — sometimes one pixel can make the difference to an image looking right.

Who are your three favourite designers right now and why?
I've been a bit of a loopy Christopher Kane fan for a while now. Mind you, when the rumours were swirling that he was heading to Balenciaga I wasn't super pumped. I mean I was excited, but it didn't feel like the perfect fit. I have this bizarre fantasy that he'll take over at Chanel [laughs]. But obviously Karl will live forever so let us never speak of this again. Anyway, he just does interesting clothes. I'm always left grinning after scrolling through one of his collections.

Karen Walker is probably the designer I have the most of in my wardrobe. Her clothes just fit well and she's been doing stunning prints since long before prints were a thing. I have a body like those women in old-master paintings with cherubs flying around their heads (though I'm about a foot shorter) so I like to wear clothes that offer me a bit of coverage and shape. Karen does this well.   

And Prada. Is that an obvious answer? I once had a dream that Miuccia let me choose myself an outfit from their sample room and I picked this jacket from Fall 2012. Basically the best dream my brain will ever construct.

What about models?
Confession: sometimes I make a GIF not because I love the outfit but because I love the model. Sicko. I'm going to answer this question in terms of Spring 2013 because there are so many models and so many I love for different reasons so I've changed the question parameters, apologies.

Let's start with Antonina Vasylchenko I mean look at her face. I'm also really enamoured by Kristin Liljegren but as far as I'm aware she only walked one show (Balenciaga) this season. Hopefully she'll be opening and closing shows like a mad woman for Fall 2013. Kate Upton — I am obsessed with her and I have no idea why. On paper she's just that babe at your high school who's married by 23 and kind of painful but then you see her high fashion shoots and it just works?! I nearly cried when she wasn't cast in the Victoria's Secret show.

How old are you?
I'm 27 and I have a grey streak already and kind of moody skin. Wow, remind me not to put this in an online dating profile.

Besides being a GIF Genius, what else do you do with yourself? Are you arty otherwise?
I recently made a light-up unicorn head beacon for a music festival so I have my moments. I'd say I have arty qualities but I would never consider myself an artist. I do a bit of work in trend forecasting so I'm definitely about visuals. I wish I could play the piano.

Who else's internet skills do you admire?
I'm a big fan of WHTEBKGRND, I love any site with a consistent aesthetic, a strong theme. Monster Hub is another favourite, some very clever GIFs are happening on that site. Ubicouture creates some pretty striking images with the fashion/art mash up concept but Jesus Swimming will always be the best thing on the Internet ever. 

Finish these sentences:
The internet rules because... Wikipedia. I am a junkie.
But it sort of sucks because... discovering stuff on the Internet isn't quite as cool as discovering stuff IRL. Go outside.

Introduction: Emily Royal
Interview: Ingrid Kesa
All GIFs by FashGif

Latest


Fashionistas Love Coke!

Coca-Cola goes couture for charity, with Versace, Missoni and more raising money for 2009 Abruzzo earthquake.


Dion Lee Line II Winter 2012 Lookbook

Modelled by Emma Balfour, shot by Bec Parsons.


Oyster's Advice Column

Slutever's Karley Sciortino gives good guidance. Email advice@oystermag.com now!


Interview: Ben Browning

We talk to the Cut Copy bass player about his new solo project.


Pixie's New Band

Evokes the haunting 90s sounds of Mazzy Star and Portishead.


Ryan Gosling Saves Woman's Life

Ryan Gosling saves a woman from being run over by a taxi in New York.


Oyster #98: Push It with Anais Pouliot

Anais Pouliot shot by Benny Horne and styled by Stevie Dance for Oyster #98.


Burberry SS12 Eyewear Campaign

Burberry use British musicians to front their latest eyewear campaign.


Oyster #98: Push It

Anais Pouliot shot by Benny Horne and styled by Stevie Dance.


Obama Rides Skateboard to Greet South Korean President

The world's coolest president just got even cooler.


Best of the 90s: Film

A bit of 90s movie nostalgia.


Kanye West Is Being Sued

For using an uncleared sample. Uh-oh!


Oyster #98 Out Now!

Music Issue out now! Starring Charlotte Gainsbourg; Anais Pouliot; and Tyler, The Creator.


Watch: Lana Del Rey x A$AP Rocky

LDR and A$AP collaborate —will our servers make it?


Watch: David Lynch 'Crazy Clown Time' (NSFW!)

Featuring nudity, hallucinations and self-immolation (of course).


Oyster #98: Tyler, The Creator

"I'm a really, really, smart, multi-talented almost-genius, who's very annoying."


Best of the 90s: Television

Favourite bits of 90s TV nostalgia!


ACMI Presents: Sympathy for the Devil

An agitprop doco and a trippy gangster flick provide a double-dose of The Rolling Stones on film.


Exclusive: Antipodium x Ian Hundley x Incu

Watch the short film accompanying the capsule collection.


Sydney Film Festival 2012

We catch up with the new Festival Director, Nashen Moodle.


Oyster #98: Charlotte Gainsbourg

Shot by Will Davidson, styled by Stevie Dance.


Lauren Brincat 'Shoot From The Hip' Exhibition

We chat to the artist about her show which is currently on at Anna Schwartz, Sydney.


Oyster Retrospective Part One

Some of our favourite shots from our past.


Independent Photography Festival 2012

Starting on Monday in Melbourne, we catch up with one of the guy's behind the festival, Joe Miranda.


James Franco Channels Kevin Federline

In Harmony Korine-directed film Spring Breakers.


See Inside Zimmermann's New York Flagship

The Australian label has just opened its first Soho store.


Jonathan Zawada Guest Playlist

We asked the artist / graphic designer to make us a mixtape.


Street Style Before Street Style: Bianca Jagger

We look at the impeccable style of the woman who once arrived at Studio 54 on a horse.


Top 5: Sia Collaborations

Sia's 'Best Of' album is out tomorrow, we celebrate with Flight of the Conchords and WWE WrestleMania.


Watch: Michael Pitt Pout & Play Guitar for Prada

In this SS12 behind-the-scenes video.


Watch: Adorable Children Review Azealia Banks

"I think a lion would like this because it eats meat."


Jeff Koons' New Sculpture Could Crush You

But luckily the $25 million life-size train will be suspended from a crane.


Alexander Wang Says Sweatshop Claims Are "Completely Untrue"

And that the original plaintiff was fired for "serious harassment issues."


Exclusive: Free People Behind-The-Scenes Pt 2

Being stuck in the desert has never looked so good.


Watch: Chrysta Bell 'Right Down to You' (Live at SXSW)

Watch her perform the song that she co-wrote with David Lynch.