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Artist Spotlight: James Curran

We sometimes like to highlight some of the great studios that produce top notch motion graphic design and VFX work. But today we are going to focus on one artist in particular.

His name is James Curran, and he creates his work under the SlimJim Studios name. James has made quite an impact on the motion graphic design world with his unique style of quirky and fun illustration based animation. Most of which he creates as animated GIFs.

These animated GIFs have become much more popular over recent years with social media, and they require a specific storytelling ability that only gives the artist a few seconds to get the story across while making the animation infinitely loopable. Curran has mastered this art form. Let’s take a look at some of his work.


Although Curran does a majority of his work now in animated GIFs, he is totally capable of creating longer form animations, like the unofficial title sequence for The Adventures Of TinTin that he created in 2012.

The very clever animation uses a simple circle as its unifying element, playing off the original character’s round head. The creative endeavor was so well received that it became a Vimeo Staff Pick, and was a Vimeo Awards 2012 finalist and shortlisted in the SXSW Excellence in Title Design Awards 2012.


Curran further defined his quirky, and (seemingly) simple design style when he created A Year And A Day. This animation started with 35 individual prints representing singles by the Beastie Boys. The prints were sold to raise money for Macmillan cancer support, and were made in honor of the death of Beastie Boy Adam Yount.

But Curran then stitched all of the prints together for this super fun animation set to the Beastie Boys song “A Year And A Day”.


As Curran’s career continued he started doing more animated GIF work. With animated GIF’s being so easily sharable, Curran has managed to get work from large brands like AXE, Vitamin Water, and Jolly Rancher, who can post the GIF’s all over the web and watch them be shared.

Take these fun loopable GIF’s for Vitamin Water that Curran created. They carry a “motivational” theme and feature active characters and fairly subtle branding.


Curran also recently completed his NYC Gifathon. During this fun event, Curran animated 30 GIFs in 30 days while staying in NYC. Each GIF was inspired by events of the stay, and his fans were eager to see what he posted each day on his various accounts.


In fact, the design site Dribbble is an ideal place for a designer like Curran focusing on animated GIFs and he’s managed to rack up over 7000 subscribers to his channel with his creative and inspiring work.

He sat down with Adobe not long ago to discuss further what he does and how he does it. It’s worth looking into if you find yourself interested in the type of work James creates.


James Curran has shown that the simple animated GIF has a real place in advertising and motion design. And that as we get used to consuming smaller and smaller chunks of information on social media, the animated GIF might just be the perfect vehicle for animation.

To keep up with his ongoing collection of animations, visit his Dribbble profile, his Instagram, or SlimJim Studios website.

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