By: Claudette Reyes
If you have an iPhone, you probably have the app for emojis. Oh you don’t know what an emoji is? Are you even living in this decade? Well for those of you who don’t know what an emoji is, it’s a name for Japanese emoticons that Apple popularized with the release of i0S5. Letters, punctuation and smiley faces have a whole new meaning. Now when you send text messages you can be as creative and expressive as you want. Instead of sending a plan old smiley face like this J, you can now send a cartoonish full-color landscape littered with pictographs. There’s an option for every emotion. If you are feeling sad, there are about 5 different sad faces that range from sorrowful to hysterically crying. Feeling silly? Send a smiley face that is crying laughing or one that has a devilish smirk. Not only has sending emojis become the social norm for texting, but also recently it has become an element of art. Artists have begun to appear making use of emojis, making our text messages look like a 1st grader constructed them. Just this past week Fred Benenson’s Eustace Emoji, an emoji-based reinterpretation of an iconic New Yorker cover, made news online. Fred Benenson works for Kickstarter as their data engineer, building products, writing queries for research, and planning their data architecture. He was previously employed as a Creative Commons‘ representative in NYC and occasionally contributes to Wired Magazine. His masterpiece is absolutely mind-blowing. An emoji of a soccer ball and of the German flag are among contributions to this detailed piece of artwork. Even though it’s made up of every emoji created, you can clearly see it is a portrait of a New Yorker man. From his hat to the bird in the background, every detailed aspect is there and the emojis just give them character and pizzazz. Additionally, Singapore-based design studio VoidWorks has created an iTunes app called Emojify that transforms your photos into emoji-based collages. Tumbler users use Emoji art as well. But what is fascinating is the time it took the US to catch up with these emojis. Japanese teenagers have been using emojis since they were invented in the 1990s. At the end of the day, we are all artists in an urban, digital way. So the next time you use emojis, make sure you give them meaning.