Back in 2016, visual effects artists George Redhawk created a series of animations based on the horror/sci-fi film Morgan – which brought him to the attention of horror fans. Redhawk actually creates a variety of GIFs – many of which are surreal and haunting, with melting faces and backgrounds.
The artist is partially sighted, and has spoken about his experiences with Charles Bonnet Syndrome, which is the main influence on his animation work. Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS) is a common condition among people who have lost their sight. It causes people who have lost a lot of vision to see things that aren’t really there, known as visual hallucinations.
The RNIB explain that: “The visual hallucinations caused by CBS can vary and can range from simple shapes and dots of colours, simple patterns, straight lines or a network of branches, to detailed pictures of people, animals, insects, landscapes and buildings. When you have lost a large amount of your vision it may be difficult to see everyday things, but you may find that your CBS hallucinations are very detailed, and much clearer than your normal vision. The images can appear “out of the blue”, lasting for just a few minutes or in some cases, several hours.”
“At times, the hallucinations may fit alongside the background you are looking at, making them feel quite real, like seeing cows in a field when the field is actually empty or seeing a fence across the pavement. At other times, they will seem totally unreal, like seeing fantasy images such as dragons.”
After he lost his sight, Redhawk was unable to continue working in the medical field, where he gave instruction on the use of medical technology. When he was going through this, he began to be inspired by the images created in his head and started experimenting with morphing software. “It’s an artistic expression of the confusion I go through with my vision loss,” Redhawk says. “Not enough data getting sent to the brain, and it tries to fill in the blanks with false information, so you can’t trust what your eyes or brain are telling you.”