Artist Turns Ukiyo-e Woodblock Prints Into GIFs

Rebecca OConnell

Tokyo-based artist Segawa Thirty-Seven has been taking iconic woodblock prints and bringing them to life with whimsical animations. The fun GIFs often feature unexpected sci-fi additions, such as spaceships, aliens, and lasers. Sometimes the animations stay true to the paintings' era, showing a boat crossing the river, or kites flying in the wind. 

Ukiyo-e style woodblock prints were popular in the 17th through 19th centuries in Japan. The works were usually the product of four experts collaborating together: the designer, the engraver, the printer, and the publisher. The artist would design the image and then transfer it to a thin, partly transparent paper. This would be pasted to wood and serve as the guidelines for the carver making the woodblock. Once the woodblock was finished, it was rubbed with ink and used to print the image.

The fifth and final step didn't emerge until recently, when Segawa Thirty-Seven turned these popular images into amusing GIFs:

[h/t: DesignBoom]