Famous Inspirational Quotes, As Abstract Animated GIFs

Internet artist Rafaël Rozendaal’s latest series will get you pumped, without the bald eagles, mountainous landscapes, or doomed frogs choking birds.


Nothing gets the work ethic going like reading through a page of inspirational quotes. But is there any way we can experience this without, you know, actually reading quotes?


In a project for AND, Rafaël Rozendaal created a series called Happy Mondays–a new GIF that debuted each Monday to kick off the work week, inspired by a famous quote. The collection turned moments of brilliance from Picasso to Einstein into the abstract digital art that Rozendaal is so famous for.

“In the view of Infinity, any defined long-term is short-term.”
– from God Emperor of Dune, Frank Herbert

So Thomas Edison’s “I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work,” becomes a series of somewhat random, imperfect shapes on a variety of backgrounds. Pablo Picasso’s “Action is the foundational key to all success,” is a gradient circle, spinning round and round infinitely. And while every image is quite different than the one before it, devoid of any thematic color palette or aesthetic basis, a certain hyperactive positivity creates a theme that burns right into your retinas.

“I mostly worked with the idea of continuity, and finding ways of working with continuous movement that gives you good energy,” Rozendaal tells Co.Design. “I always try to [generate a feeling of] focus and concentration. The kind of focus you have when you are kind of bored because you are not directly stimulated and for that reason you have to occupy your own mind.”

The work is intended to throw your mind into a pixel-induced zen, so Happy Mondays becomes, not a project you’re meant to ooh and awe over in artistic reverence, but a stepping stone to your creativity. In other words, these imagined works function much like the very quotations they’re modeled after.

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Of course, while I had Rozendaal’s attention, I just couldn’t help but to ask a slight non sequitur–since he’s been in the Internet art game since its beginning, how has he seen things change, and where is the movement going?

“Well there are more and more Internet connected devices and platforms. Internet used to be something just on a computer, now it’s on phones, consoles, coffee makers, TVs, buildings … Every surface will be
connected soon. It is amazing and overwhelming at the same time,” he tells me. “As an artist, I am working hard to think of ideas that work on as many screens as possible, in terms of file size, composition, colors, speed, CPU usage, you name it. The beauty is that when the tech gets more widely adopted on different platforms you have to simplify even more. The ecosystem asks for simplicity and I am a humble servant :)”

“A goal is a dream with a deadline.”
– Napoleon Hill

It figures, that he’d end a sentence with an emoticon.

See the full collection here.


About the author

Mark Wilson is a senior writer at Fast Company who has written about design, technology, and culture for almost 15 years. His work has appeared at Gizmodo, Kotaku, PopMech, PopSci, Esquire, American Photo and Lucky Peach