Dax Norman | Giphy Arts at Nasdaq

Nasdaq has become an iconic symbol in New York City. We find inspiration each day by emerging artists working in the community. We are pleased to highlight these talented artists with their unique and inspiring perspectives.

Dax Norman is a thirty-eight-year-old assistant professor of practice, arts and entertainment technologies, at the University of Texas, Austin. He is a proud single father, a talented artist, and a member of two bands: The Parts Unknown, and Weather Machine. Dax holds three degrees: an MFA in Art and Technology from the University of Texas at Dallas, a BFA in Computer Animation from Ringling College of Art and Design, and a BS in Advertising from the University of Texas at Austin.

Throughout his life, Dax has always had a passion for art. He started his art career with paintings and drawings. However, in search of a way to create art with more movement, Dax progressed to animation. Dax has created many animations and has even completed a full feature-length animation called Leptune.

Dax first started creating GIFs when he was working on music videos in 2008. He was looking for a way to fill space in the music videos with visual content and started experimenting with GIFs. With GIFs he discovered that he could make “really beautiful looping rhythms of movement.” Once Dax realized the power of what he could do with GIFs, he fell in love with them and started creating them every day. Dax has created over 3000 GIFs since he created his originals in 2008. 


What types of clients have you made GIFs or other visual art pieces for in your career?

“I’ve been commissioned to make art by many companies such as Adult Swim and MTV… also Bonnaroo Music Festival and a band called Jack U. I have made a lot of concert visuals for bands. Another EDM artist named Getter has been commissioning my work for a while. I also made a music video for a DJ out of Ibiza named Guy Gerber. There was also the Melbourne International Animation Festival”

What do you like about GIFs?

“GIFs are of our time. I wanted to be a modern artist, if that makes sense, and to explore what we have at our disposal to use at our time that other artists didn’t have available at other times. A painting is a beautiful thing, but it is, I think, best seen in person. That is limiting as far as what my audience can be. But, GIFs are native to the internet, so I can send a GIF over the internet, wherever, on my website, or Giphy, Tumblr, Instagram, Twitter, or anywhere. It connects and people see this work in its original form. That’s something I like because in essence, it disrupts the normal status of viewer, patron, and artist. It’s strange and beautiful… People don’t have to come to my art show to see the work. They can see GIFs online in their native format.”

Is there a particular type of GIF that you like to design most?

“I want to sit down to a blank canvass and challenge myself to see if I can make something interesting and engaging. I typically like psychedelic movements that are somewhat hypnotic, but are handmade. I like to draw them frame by frame. I like approaching the GIF ancient innovation style. Even though I draw them on a computer, I like to do it somewhat old-fashioned. I draw it frame-by-frame. I like that that gives it a handmade kind of quality…I’m not drawn to making GIFs because of subject matter or content. It’s more about the way that I like to make it. So, I can be drawing anything and have fun with it.

What are your thoughts about your GIF being displayed on the Nasdaq tower?

“That was a major honor of my life. I was so moved and touched and honored by it. I can’t believe it happened. I watched it with my kids. I was very moved and very happy about it.

It was a major milestone for me and I’m very thankful for that opportunity. The scale of it was immense and I hoped people enjoyed seeing it there. It’s so amazing. I was deeply touched by the opportunity and it makes me smile just thinking about it.”

What was the inspiration for your GIF for the Nasdaq Tower?

“The inspiration for the GIF for the Nasdaq project was my fiancé – I was thinking about us flying over New York City like a bird.”

Dax Norman Contact Info  

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

Bennett O'Brien

Bennett O'Brien is a freelance writer from the state of Massachusetts. He holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Westfield State University. Currently Bennett is expanding his writing career, and enjoying the opportunity to write on a variety of business topics. He has written for more than 350 different companies and always looks forward to providing outstanding content for his next client.

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