The FlipBooKit Show at Grumpy Bert

Right turn! Artists create flip-books for Boerum Hill exhibition

The Brooklyn Paper
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This art show is going to make people flip!

Boerum Hill gallery and gift shop Grumpy Bert is hosting an exhibition of artist-designed flip-books from Nov. 22–Dec. 28, and the space’s owner said he can hardly wait to see the pages start turning.

“Flip-books have a weird magic power,” said Grumpy Bert himself, Albert Chau. “They’re mesmerizing.”

Each of the pieces in the show utilizes a little machine called a FlipBooKit, which rapidly flips through a series of images using either a motor or hand crank, creating a simple animation. The exhibit includes works from more than 40 artists, each of whom have created a short moving picture inside one of the small cubes.

The California company that makes FlipBooKits produced the show to see how far artists could push the boundaries of their product, while offering inspiration to potential customers. Viewers who find their creative switch flipped on by the exhibition will be able to purchase a FlipBooKit from Grumpy Bert during the show.

One participating artist who has taken the FlipBooKit concept and run with it is Crown Heights resident Nate Bear, who customized his cube to look like an old-school arcade machine.

“It was really fun to design an object like this,” he said.

Bear said he used to make flip books as a kid, before computer animations such as GIFs became common-place. But back then, he had to make them by hand, one frame at a time, using Post-it notes.

“That was all I could do,” Bear said. “I would draw on those stacks of yellow sticky paper.”

Another artist in the show, illustrator Aya Kakeda, used the FlipBooKit to bring a character she has been drawing for years to life for the first time. Kakeda said she likes the physicality of the device, which offers an analog experience in the digital age.

“I like that the flip book is an object you can have and play with,” she said. “It kind of has a retro feeling to it.”

Brandon Sines, who works out of a studio in Bushwick, also used the show as an opportunity to animate his long-time character, Frank Ape.

“It’s all about finding cool new ways to bring him to life,” Sines said. “Seeing Frank move is really fun.”

The FlipBooKit Show at Gumpy Bert [82 Bond St. between State Street and Atlantic Avenue in Boerum Hill, (347) 855–4849,]. Nov. 22–Dec. 28. Opening Nov. 22, 7 pm–10 pm. Free.

Reach reporter Matthew Perlman at (718) 260–8310. E-mail him at Follow him on Twitter @matthewjperlman.
Updated 10:17 pm, July 9, 2018
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