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Ignacio Torres’s pictures show humans made from the dust of exploded stars, recalling Carl Sagan while establishing a new bar for the animated GIF.

Ignacio Torres was born in the border city of El Paso, Texas. In the fall of 2010 he received his BFA in photography from the University of North Texas. His work has been exhibited in the Dallas/Ft.Worth metroplex and was awarded the Cora E. Stafford Scholarship for an emerging photographer in 2010.

Ignacio is currently working in personal projects that explore youth, identity and scientific theories through the use of photography, animated GIFs, and video. “Stellar” is featured on The Ones 2 Watch. He lives and works in New York City.

All images copyright © the artist, all rights reserved.

TMN:

Your project statement says the series began “from the theory that humans are made of cosmic matter as a result of a star’s death.” How did you get from there to the final works?

Ignacio Torres:

I have always been fascinated by science and the work of Carl Sagan. In my sketchbook I remember flipping through it and I had a phrase written down that said, “We are made of stars.” Oftentimes when I watch documentaries I like writing phrases or things that I really respond to. That particular statement had a particular connection to me and my mind immediately began visualizing ideas of how I could get this theory across in my body of work.

TMN:

In your motion work, who do you look to for contemporary inspiration?

IT:

The surrealist imagery of filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky is a source of inspiration for a lot of my motion work. Jodorowsky’s imagery reminds me of the summers I would spend at my grandmas’ house in Mexico.

TMN:

How does New York compare to Texas?

IT:

I moved to NYC at the beginning of the year, and it was a rough experience moving in the middle of winter. Moving from the small college town of Denton, Texas, to the fast pace of the city was too much for me at the time. I remember wondering if I was cut out for the city and ended up moving back to my hometown in Texas. New York is great but you can easily forget to make time to create work because there is always something going on. In Texas I was able to focus on my photography and do a lot of thinking. During my return to Texas I was really inspired by the desert landscapes and orange sunsets you see in the “Stellar” images.

TMN:

What do you make of other recent GIF art online? Where will the animated GIF go next?

IT:

I personally love the GIF art of Jaime Martinez and Reed & Rader. Their ingenuity with GIF art has opened many doors to the format and removed it from its reputation of annoying glittery web art formerly used on MySpace.

TMN:

What are you working on at the moment?

IT:

I just recently returned to New York so I haven’t been able to create new work. I am working on getting my animated GIFs turned into lenticular prints.

Rosecrans Baldwin co-founded The Morning News. He is the author of Paris, I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down and You Lost Me There. His next novel is forthcoming from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. His Kindle e-book for The Morning News Editions, about visiting different American towns called Paris, was selected as a notable essay for Best American Essays 2013. More information can be found at his website. More by Rosecrans Baldwin