Aaron StrickemailstrickinatoSan Francisco, CA

Invitation gifs

Aaron StrickemailstrickinatoSan Francisco, CA
Invitation gifs

When I was social, I made a lot of invitation gifs!

From 2014 to 2016, I was very actively social. To promote my "events", I put together promotional gifs. Over that period, I put together what I've now decided I'm willing to call a "body of work". Here, in 2020, in social isolation, I present a retrospective.

Thursday Parties

It kicked off in early 2014, when every Thursday, I'd find a fun event or happening in San Francisco and invite everyone to join me there.

The Origin

"Thursdays are here" I declared, inviting folks to 49 Geary, a building loaded with art galleries in San Francisco on a night I knew they'd all be giving away free wine.

Impact Font was all the rage with memes, so instead of clever wording, I just made it colorful and flashy.

With the nightwatch as a backdrop, word flash in bold colors with the address
and time of a party

Puppy Love

Next, we headed to an adoption event at the SPCA where they were giving away dogs and free animal related tattoos. An evening filled with animal love.

This gif, a simple re-working of the previous week's solidified the trend. You can expect a gif with this invitation.

Black History Month

We hit a festival in a predominantly black part of San Francisco and went out for BBQ. After receiving a lot of positive feedback about the flashy imagery in the invitations, I decided to push myself to achieve more.

At the BBQ restaurant, some folks took turns drawing on a napkin, in a sort of lame take on the excuisite corpse. Excited about my new gif experimentation, and ready to show off, I scanned the image and gave it some digital life. The repetition and the rainbow cutout ended up being motifs that carried through a lot of the work.

Strick Breaker

The following week, we convened at Free Gold Watch, a local pinball arcade. This is the first of many gifs that featured my own face.

Wind In The Willows

Next, I invited folks to attend Shipwreck, an event where people write erotic fan fiction set in the worlds of children's literature. That particular week was about the Wind in the Willows, so for the gif, I ruined one of the all time great literary characters, Mr. Toad. The vandalization of this toads body, is actually a little hard to see, a testament to what is perhaps my most technically excellent photoshop job.

The source image was a lot of fun to work with, so I ended up re-using it soon after to promote a friend of mine (moving in the photo frame) playing a show at the Revolution Cafe.

NSFW: click to view

Rock n Roll Radio

For the next Thursday, the plan was to attend a Korean Indie Band showcase that was part of CAAMFest (a great annual event!).

As it turned out, no one wanted to come with me, and it ended up being the last of the Thursday cultural events. In order to guilt people for not coming, I created an additional follow-up gif featuring one of the groups I got to see at the show, Rock n Roll Radio.

For both gifs, I used some the similar texturing techniques I'd learned the previous week on Mr. Toad's Privates.

Burrito Party

At a fundraiser concert for a Burning Man camp, I was fortunate to win a 4ft. long burrito in a silent auction, to be delivered at my leisure. To celebrate, I ordered an additional 8 ft and threw a big hooha in the park.

12 feet o' burrito!


In honor of such an important event, I put together my most meticulous work to date. The building the burrito is bursting out of is home to one of the downtown Chipotle branches, a subtle dig at the ridiculousness of the chain's presence.see footnote

The panning shot is animated with edited freeze frames taken from manually dragging google street view.


You may recognize the buttio floating in the sky as the same source image as the one exploding out of the building above. The repetitive pattern combined with the cutout concept ended up being useful for another park party later on.


Park Party

The work for this aerial of San Francisco with all of the parkspace cut out, replaced by an endlessly scrolling pattern of my face turned out to have lasting impact, as I'ved used the tiled face pattern for a number of things, including at times my twitter profile, but also in other invitations as well.

This one is endlessly frustrating for me to look at because I mistakenly doubled a frame in the animation, causing a break in the animation. No doubt a mistake made late in the evening, when most of this work was done.

Decadent Birthday

The common scrolling motif appears in this invitation, where my face, along with the face of a fellow August birthday, scrolls by alongside other symbols of decadence.

Four More Years

After 4 years of high school, 4 years of college, and the 4 years of life after college, it seemed appropriate to celebrate the milestone.

To this day, I'm really pleased by how the ascending images of me at (13, 17, 21, and 25) grow to fill out the composition. I also can't help but chuckle at the patterned image of my good friend and roommate Toby pictured at the age we met, and the half-assed nod to the guy subletting in the 3rd bedroom.


My friend told me to compose an email to really get people to go to his party. So I tried I thought, perhaps hypnosis would do.

This is easily the most aggressive work. I don't mind looking at it, but it garnered a lot of negative response. Look at your own risk.

INTENSE FLASHING: click to view

Super Saturday

In 2016, when the democratic primaries were in full swing, we had a party with a great concept. To get in, you'd contribute 5 dollars cash. At midnight, we had a party wide vote for who would get the cash. It went to whomever was able to throughout the course of the night convince the most people to vote for them to get the cash.

The gif features many of the same motifs that appeared in the past, and continue to show up in my work. I consider it quintessential.

The Future

As time went on, I threw less parties and I became a software engineer. I started to experiment on invitations with some of the newer technologies that were available to me.


This was the first example of me using code to generate a gif. Here, I used processing, a language designed for coding within the context of visual art.

The source code, represented below, generates the pizza on da eye.

import GifAnimation.*;

PImage img;
PImage aaron;

GifMaker gifExport;

void setup() {
  img = loadImage("./aaron.jpg");
  pizza = loadImage("./pizza.png");
  gifExport = new GifMaker(this, "./pizza.gif");

void draw() {
  rotate(millis() * 0.001 * TWO_PI);

Virtual Reality Experience

Most recently, I've experimented with a more immersive way of flashing repeated images of myself into people's eyeballs, while trying to maintain the feel and style of the preceding work.

Here, this most recent Park Party invitation calls back to earlier aerials of SF, and the repeating face pattern.

footnote: I actually think Chipotle is pretty good, but if you're in SF, it's a little ridiculous when there's so many amazing burrito spots everywhere.

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