• 05.08.13

Mesmerizing Grainy GIF Portraits Capture Movie Characters’ Essence

A new series of movie character portraits from pop culture artist Mike Mitchell overlays a grainy GIF element to lend them a big screen feel.

Art based on pop culture can sometimes remind us what was great about it in the first place. A new series of movie character portraits by artist Mike Mitchell pays faithful homage to the original material of some classic movies, but presents it in a new way.


The aptly tiled “Portrait Show” is currently being shown at Austin, Texas’ Mondo Gallery through May 25. Each of the 32 portraits on display capture characters such as Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown from Back to the Future and Uma Thurman’s The Bride from Kill Bill in a frozen moment representative of their movies. Doc Brown seems affably on the verge of madness, while The Bride simply oozes scorn and determination. What brings these portraits to life, however, is the GIF element.

Rather than show a character going through the paces of a scene from their movies, Mitchell takes a more stationary tack with his GIFs. Each image simply has an subtly grainy sheen, lending it an aura of moment. The characters look like they’re in momentary repose rather than still life.

Have a look through some of the best images in the slide show above.

About the author

Joe Berkowitz is a writer and staff editor at Fast Company. His next book, Away with Words, is available June 13th from Harper Perennial.