About GIF Portrait

GIF Portrait is a project from digital artist Gretta Louw that allows anyone to commission an animated digital art portrait of themselves or someone else and, in doing so, contribute to the development of a net-based gesamtkunstwerk. GIF Portrait is a radical re-thinking of the traditional genre of portraiture, capturing and representing you in a format that is fit for the digital age.

For centuries influential families, patrons, and figures commissioned portraits by leading artists of the time. The significance of these oil paintings was greater than the works of art themselves and signified cultural capital, philanthropy, taste, and status. As we enter a networked age, where number of followers or digital friends in some circles surpass traditional status symbols like cars and houses as indicators of influence, GIF Portrait asks the question about how art interacts with our online persona. If we are all curating versions of ourselves online and building our own digital habitats, how can digital art capture this new, shifting form of network-mediated identity.

The limited edition series of 20 custom-made animated GIF artworks incrementally increase in price, exploring the monetary value attached to our online self-representation, and rewarding early collectors for their commitment.

 Example   GIF Portrait   shown installed on a media player for display in physical settings.

Example GIF Portrait shown installed on a media player for display in physical settings.

 Still image from a   GIF Portrait   displayed as a framed digital print.

Still image from a GIF Portrait displayed as a framed digital print.

Gretta Louw

A multidisciplinary artist working primarily in digital media, Gretta Louw has exhibited all over the world - from New York to Berlin, Australia to Hong Kong. Her GIF-based work has been presented at prestigious museums like the Kunstmuseum Solothurn in Switzerland and events like Art Basel Miami Beach and the Moving Silence festival at the Goethe Institute, Athens.

For more information about Gretta including exhibition history, awards and grants she has received, and examples of her work, please visit her website at grettalouw.com.

Gretta also created an online visual diary, posting a new GIF every day in 2012, which you can navigate through at dailyGIF.net.

  Self Portrait , Gretta Louw, animated GIF, 2015.

Self Portrait, Gretta Louw, animated GIF, 2015.

Press & Testimonials

"In her practice there is an intesive, intelligent and subtle investigation of so many aspects of the Internet that Louw must be seen as a net artist par excellence and counted amongst the international avant garde of new art. The Internet is the technological development with the greatest potential to bring about cultural change - Gretta Louw's work establishes what this could mean for art." - Benedikt Stegmayer, art historian and curator, founding director of the Verlag für Zeitgenössische Kunst und Theorie publishing house in Berlin, and director of the Stadtgalerie Mannheim.


"Louw's GIF portraits take on the form of traditional oil paintings, giving an intimate, personal view of the individual. They also comment critically on how our images are shaped for the consumption of a wider audience, perhaps like Diego Velazquez's paintings of the Spanish royal family. Louw is evaluating whether images online can hold the same weight as oil-paint canvases." - Kyle Chayka, art critic, writer, and curator.