Emoji have become front and center of web pop culture. Whether it’s Moby Dick told via our iconic friends or the abuse/perfect innuendo of 🍆, emoji are now middle America.
I’m not afraid to admit I ride for emoji. But emoji are becoming stagnant (diversity emoji aside, of course 👍). Direct translations of words to emoji...I dunno, it’s just language replacement—the automated thesaurus lookup at worst, a funny regex search at best.
There are smarter people out there to read if you want some emoji semiotics. I just want to fuck with emoji and make them wavey. “Keep Emoji Weird” if you will.
More five-eyed, baby-handed female emoji in my web world pls.
From a pure visual perspective, the Apple Color Emoji set is a real accomplishment of design/illustration/art/whatever. A diverse set of images that (mostly) still feel consistently executed is akin to being able to play with a set of Monets everyday.
Yet each image contains a wealth of texture and patterns ripe for exploration when “waved” (a bullshit term I made up/stole from music maker Klimeks). When each emoji is waved using various techniques, I try to make the various details of its construction apparent. The color combinations, the glosses, the detailed textures—I’m at best remixing the best parts of a song, pulling it apart and re-sharing my own cut.
Like, have you ever looked at the Dancer emoji scaled up?
It’s freeeeeaaaaaakkkkkkky looking. She’s an amputee, and I have no idea what is going on with that dress—it’s pre-waved or something. I could probably do a whole series just exploring that dress I’m vibing that much off of it.
And that’s this other beautiful side of the Apple Color Emoji. Like a typeface designed for specific usage, emoji have the potential to stretch beyond their intended use. Emoji aren’t really designed to be scaled so large, so that’s exactly what we should do with them.
Like I said before, emoji are mainstream at this point. And the mainstream web—if I can keep it 💯—is boring as fuck.
The internet used to be a place where the edges were misshapen, the corners dark. Now it’s filled with Twitter Bootstrap, content aggregators, and the majority of communications happening on sites like Facebook or Twitter. It all feels a bit too much Michael Bay, and not nearly enough Jodorowsky.
In an endless stream of baby pictures, brand engagements, and selfies can we get a little more weird with each other?
I dunno if I really believe I’m some internet artist or something, but I do have a Personal InterNet Art Canon. And it isn’t anything that you find on Twitter or Facebook these days. I just made this up right now, but here are a few rules I’m trying to follow.
- It’s some combination of technology exploitation and modern technology critique. One without the other is either boring or just tech masturbation.
- It’s outcome is unexpectedly fucked up, or unexpectedly beautiful.
- It often comes from some form of “misunderstanding.” It’s a mistranslation, a flip-flop, an inside joke turned inside out.
Here’s a few things that end up in those categories for me.
(I just noticed I have a thing for 💐 and Mario Brothers. huh.)
Without getting too high on my own supply I’m trying to put #emojiacidtrip in this category of “things.”
I just got through laying out some manifesto-style bullshit about why I feel like #emojiacidtrip is some sort of groundbreaking thing and you should bow down and worship it. I even indirectly compared myself to the gawd Cory Archangel. These are all lies. I’m full of shit. Each of these things takes ~5 minutes in Photoshop. I’m not being critical of my own work—a reflection on my internet state in 2015. It’s a thing I do before I fall asleep at night.
#emojiacidtrip follows 🔢 rules:
- no #emojiacidtrip should feel the same as another (I am the judge, jury, and prosecutor for this crime)
- it must explore both the aesthetic aspects of the Apple Color Emoji and some language thing (I also JJP this)
- this project dies when I get bored (which will inevitably happen before I run out of emoji)
If I’m being entirely honest it’s loosely defined so that I can basically do whatever the hell I want.
For example, trying to make some weird, trippy faces out of the 🎨:
Or making 🍟 look like 🔥:
roundtripping my daily feels:
or getting wavey with waves:
or the purely aesthetic exploration of the Dali donut:
and I’ve recently begun exploring the mutliple-emoji-cum-diversity as a celebration of emoji equality:
It’s a spur of the moment decision, a spur of the moment creation. Tomorrow they might look stupid, but today they’re the expression of my moment.
Let’s wave the web 🌊 🏄 💯.