Artist of the Day: Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh works as a designer and animator for Nickelodeon in New York. Skip uses his free time to create personal work that includes handsomely designed looping animated GIFs that invoke thoughts of toy machinery and strange cellular activity. He explains more about how he arrived at this ongoing project in an interview with Giphy.

Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh

He posts his looping animation on Tumblr. It’s fascinating to look at the archive and compare the “notes” count on each GIF. Curiously, some GIFs have 9,000 to 12,000 notes (which in Tumblr language, means either a comment, re-blog or ‘like’), while others have under a hundred notes. What makes one loop more appealing by such a factor over others when the content of each is so similar? My initial theory was that people were responding to the loops that look like they include eyes and faces, based on the idea that people like to look at faces and find faces in abstract designs, such as this example with 12,000-plus notes:

Skip Dolphin Hursh

But that theory was proven wrong when I saw this purely abstract shape GIF with 9,000-plus notes:

Skip Dolphin Hursh

The way Tumblr is used by many users is likely a factor. Many users will see an image they like and “like” it or re-blog it, without digging deeper into the original source. If an image gains a critical mass of re-blogs, it can become much more popular than another image from the same blog by many times over. See more work from Skip including non-looping images on his portfolio website.

Skip Dolphin Hursh

Skip Dolphin Hursh


  • David Reynolds

    Mind = blown.

  • Alex Dudley

    Well these are fun!

  • martin

    love it

  • Mapache

    Wait. There’s some nineties in my eye.

  • Ryan Adams

    Wow! I just think this is gash! :)

  • Max W

    Amid – About the tumblr “note” count; I’ve noticed that sometimes all it takes is for someone with a very popular tumblr to reblog someone’s post, then everyone who follows that person with the popular blog reblogs or “likes” it. These people may never go past this popular blog to find the original source of the post.