General Howe’s “Disasters of War” gif series


General Howe has been putting up street art since at least 2007. His recent work may seem like quite a change of direction, but I don’t think the change is as drastic as it might at first seem, although it is significant. Like Insa, General Howe has begun making animated gifs. In my most recent post on, I pointed out a few artists who I think are using the internet like a street artist or graffiti writer uses the street, and not only do I not think that’s crazy, I think that shift is fantastic. I’m not saying that street artists should stop working on the street, but I am saying that the internet has opened up a lot of new opportunities for artists to interact with the general public (kinda like street art), and it’s exciting to see artists taking advantage of those opportunities. A piece of street art can be seen by a lot of people, but an animated gif can go viral. There are a lot of gif artists out there, but I want to point out General Howe specifically for two reasons: 1. His Disasters of War series has some work that just makes my jaw drop, and 2. He has worked on the street for years and then transitioned to animated gifs.


These pieces are all from General Howe’s Disasters of War series. Goya for the digital generation. For the series, General Howe has appropriated imagery from the G.I. Joe animated television series and modified them into gifs that deal with issues of war and terror. Something about these just stops me in my tracks.


One sidenote: I can’t post all these animations without also mentioning Winter In America, an equally impressive short film by Hank Willis Thomas and Kambui Olujimi that also deals with violence through G.I. Joe figures which happens to be part of a show of Hank Willis Thomas’ work on now at the gallery where I work outside of Philadelphia.

More from General Howe after the jump…tumblr_mgak9gUa5A1qanmclo1_1280





And General Howe noticed something interesting about flickr, a glitch that actually works well in the case of this series. He found that when he uploaded gifs to flickr, all of the resized versions that flickr automatically creates when you upload an image are jpgs. In converting from animated gif to static jpeg, flickr messes up. Rather than (logically) taking one from of the gif and using that as the static version of the gif, it seems to glitch and combine all of the frames of the gif together in interesting ways. Here are two examples of jpgs that flickr made from gifs that are in this post…



Animations and images by General Howe