”That was a good note. Even if it was unsolicited and even if it came from a machine. It was eye-opening and revealed to me what I need to do to grow as an artist.~ Daeu Angert on her work with generative art
I recently started playing with generative Art. I was curious about how AI would interpret the titles of my paintings. Would it come up with similar ideas, compositions, and color schemes? An artist vs. machine challenge. I started with an “artist trapped in nerd’s mind” phrase, which, as you know, is the title of one of my self-portraits.
The images generated were pretty disturbing…to me. Maybe being an artist trapped in a nerds mind is more disturbing then I let on or care to admit. Maybe my version is too sanitized and detached, or maybe there is more to it – a part 3 that I still need to make. As I explained this painting on my podcast, part 1 is an oil painting showing the nerd from the outside looking in; part 2 is a digital extension showing the artist trying to escape showing the inside looking out. Maybe part 3 needs to go even deeper and explore the truth of an artist trapped in a nerd’s mind.
That was a good note. Even if it was unsolicited and even if it came from the machine. It was eye-opening and revealed to me that I need to open up more to my Art. A lot more. Art is the witness here.
Examples of generative art using the phrase “An Artist Trapped In A Nerd’s Mind”
Is Generative Art Actually Art?
While playing with generative art, I start thinking a lot about what makes art art. Is it the brushstrokes on a canvas (or finger strokes or pallet knife strokes in my case, since I don’t use brushes), the notes in a symphony, or the words on a page? Is it the emotions it evokes, the questions it asks, the ideas it inspires? Is it the masterpieces in museums, the graffiti on the streets, the sculpture in the park? Is it the expression of the self, the reflection of the world, the connection to the human experience?
Is it a medium through which we can explore, express, and understand ourselves and our world? A way to communicate, to connect, to create? A reflection of who we are? A source of beauty, of meaning, of inspiration?
In all subjectivity of it all – what makes Art… Art?
That begs the question…
Is generative Art actually Art? AI is math. An algorithm that can only draw on what already exists. There is no new thinking. It regurgitates what’s already there, and by definition, it’s derivative. Something true Art can never be, as far as I am concerned. And by definition, it perpetuates old cliches and biases from the past.
I know that some artists do not like it; it pulls from the artwork that other people have done already. And I don’t consider it Art. I have to admit, it was fun at first, but quickly, it became boring.
The Emerging Tech Collection
What’s not boring to me, tho, is exploring the ideas behind the emerging technologies and their impact on society and painting about that. Non-derivative. 🙂
Topics like digital transformation, the transformation of digital, thinking digital first, dealing with accelerating change, quantum computing, machine learning, VR, AR, XR, IoT, AI, crypto, fintech, fashion-tech, biotech, nanotech, all the techs, wearables, need for rapid ideation…and the list goes on, became the source of inspiration for my Emerging Tech Collection.
Acceleration of Change (La Paloma). Daeu Angert. Emerging Tech Collection. 2020. Oil on canvas. 30″ x 48″
Acceleration Of Change (La Paloma)
The first painting I made for The Emerging Tech Collection is called The Acceleration of Change. It was appropriate to start there as it deals with what it feels like to be confronted by accelerated change — because that was the most important to me. The only constant in technology is change. As cliche as it sounds, it’s true. It’s like a tango dance between optimism for the future and the fear of the unknown. I wrote more about how this painting came about here.
My initial attempt to paint it ended up in a miserable failure – it was a good depiction of the change itself, but it lacked the feeling of being faced with accelerating change coming at you. So I scrapped it. I regret that now. I should have kept it. Anyways, I tried redoing it – which is something I can’t do. When that energy is spent, it’s gone. It’s done. So my attempt at recreating it ended with a painting called Becoming Obsolete. Or what happens when you do not embrace change and dance with it.
My initial attempt at painting La Paloma ended in a miserable failure. It was a good depiction of the change itself, but it lacked the feeling I was after — of being faced with accelerating change coming at you. So I scrapped it. I regret that now. I should have kept it.
I tried redoing it – which is something I cannot do. When the energy is spent, it’s gone. It’s done. So my attempt at recreating it ended with a painting called Becoming Obsolete. Or what happens when you do not embrace change and dance with it.
Becoming Obsolete. Daeu Angert. The Emerging Tech Collection. 2021. Oil on Canvas. 48″ x 30″
This is what I wrote in my notebook after I was done painting…
Anything that ever became obsolete was once inventive, innovative, and valuable. In demand. Colorful. Lively. Revered. Celebrated. Sought out. And recommended.
Anything that ever became obsolete insisted on maintaining the status quo, even when it was easier to adapt to new, ignoring the obvious signs that the world was turning sea foam green.
Anything that ever became obsolete doubled down its ignorance to reestablish itself into the darkness.
That’s the meaning of this painting.
53 qubits is about Google’s Sycamore quantum processor. Sycamore had 53 qubits, and google claimed that it could perform a specific calculation in a couple of hundred seconds that would take a classical supercomputer 10,000 years. They contended that Sycamore established quantum supremacy.
I was interested in painting the quantum nature of the thing imagining the inside of this processor and the different states in which the qubits can be. Different spins. Supersymmetry. Yes, we already established I am a nerd. I like the painting, though.
53 Qubits. Daeu Angert. Emerging Tech Collection. 2020. Oil on canvas. 48″ x 36″.
Nano is the smallest painting of them all. The idea behind Nano was to show a swatch of fabric with Nanotechnology weaved in.
Generally, nanoparticles would create water or stain-resistant materials, provide UV protection, or have better moisture management. And those you can’t see. In Nano, I wanted to put the fabric swatch under a microscope and exaggerate nanoparticles…I took inspiration from Star Treks’ borg Seven of Nine hand nano probes port and made them tactile. Of course, the fabric had to be beautiful, soft, and pretty. Still, the nanoparticles are orange and red just to signal an inherent danger in some of these particles, depending on how they are manufactured.
Nano. Daeu Angert. Emerging Tech Collection. 2020. Oil on canvas. 36″ x 24″.
In Between The Masks
The concept of the In between the masks painting deals with different personas we create for ourselves as our digital extensions on social media, gaming, Metaverse…and so on. Who is that person in between the masks? What is that person’s experience of themselves and the world when they juggle between the masks/personas? What happens at the moment of switching the masks? Who are they without those masks? In-between. The oil painting shows the sideways view of layers of masks and the small space between them. The mask layers are bright and colorful against the darkness of the negative space – the true self. This is an objective view from the outside looking in.
Then there is a digital extension to show the subjective POV of the person wearing all those masks. I refer to this as Art on the continuum (I explained the Art on the continuum here). This subjective point of view is a view through the eye openings of the masks and shows the view from all these masks blending together in a trippy and disorienting way.
In-Between The Masks. Daeu Angert. Emerging Tech Collection. 2020. Oil on canvas. 48″ x 36″
In-Between The Masks (POV). Daeu Angert. Emerging Tech Collection. 2020. Digital Art.
More to come!