New Art: Selfies From Alternate Universes # 17: The Prisoner

SFAU #17, by Eric Wayne. Digital painting, 24×26″ @300 dpi, 4/2018. [click to see in a new tab sized for your monitor.]


If you are new to this series all the images are based on recent photos of me after being fed through Faceapp (which can change age, gender, etc.), then altered in Photoshop, and then painted in Corel Painter. None of the people actually exist, and thus they are like self portraits from parallel dimensions or alternate universes.


This time I’m going to talk a bit more about my process here. One of the possible criticisms of this series is that I use Faceapp and anyone can do that. So, let’s start off with looking at what Faceapp gave me before I made it into this fellow, in prisoner’s garb, with the shadow of jail bars, and a brick background, as a (digital) oil painting.

Left is the original photo, and right is with the “old” filter in Faceapp.

I had the bags under my eyes that day, and boy did the neural network run with THAT! My left eye looks like it’s about to POP! Even the original photo isn’t flattering, but, the old one’s a bit, well, scary-ugly. If I just left it at that, that would be all Faceapp. But you also need to be clever about manipulating the app. In any case the app only produces postage stamp-sized images suitable for sharing on smart phones. By the time I’m done it’s a hi-rez image printable a couple feet in the longer dimension, at least.

I used the same original image to produce both #17 and #4. Behold:

These are both based on the same original photo.

To get the results I get one needs to be good at F’ing with the app, good at Photoshop, and good at digital painting. Some things I do are rather subtle. If you look at the original image, you can’t really see my ears because of the fish-eye effect of the close angle, but I made them more visible in the final image. Here I’m adding them in Photoshop:

I made the left ear more conspicuous, then flipped it around on another layer to position the new right ear.

And then notice how I continued that shadow from the head onto the clothes. It’s already difficult to put someone else’s clothes, from a different photo onto someone, but then to add a shadow on top of it, convincingly is a struggle.

This is the first image in the series where I used my more painterly variety of digital painting techniques. The result is a bit less photo-realist and a bit more painterly, even from a distance. No, it’s not a filter! I do every stroke individually. A filter doesn’t know what the F it’s looking at, and it’s results are cheesy and generally shit. To get quality results you need to know how to paint, and have a very good eye for painting. To see the difference between my two painting techniques,  compare an eye from #16 with an eye from this one.

Eye from my last piece.

Eye from this piece.

The paint is lot thicker and you can see more brush strokes. Here’s the other eye.

There are certain tell-tale signs that would tip ME off that this is digital and not physical paint, but they are just things I recognize because this is a technique I developed myself, so I know all the intricacies of it intimately.

I have increased control with this more impasto method, but I didn’t want to use it earlier because I didn’t want each piece to take too long. However, finally I found just the right recipe to paint more loosely and quickly with this process. I was pretty excited when I cracked that.

Let’s compare the mouths of the last two images.

Mouth of #16

Mouth of #17.

The first one is a good technique with a light Impressionist feel, but the second is taking it to another level. For one it has an added layer of interpretation.

Here are a few more details:

What did this guy do to end up in jail? And are the bars being shut or opened? He looks to me like he really resents being confined, and we don’t know if his sentence is just or not. Is he innocent or guilty. It doesn’t help his case that he looks mean and angry. But I’d sure be pissed off if I were taken into custody for some bullshit charge like, uh, “environmental terrorism” for blocking tractors from mowing down a rain forest, or something.

But this guy isn’t me. He could be a murderer. I’d say more likely he got busted for some scam, thought he could outsmart the government. Perhaps he’s a TV actor guilty of hubris, kinda’ like the rather sympathetic bad guys in Chips. Or maybe his crime was just running out of money and not being able to pay collections, and then things snowballing, he ends up on the street, loitering, begging, stealing a baguette, and then mouthing off at the officer who comes to serve him a fine. Oh no. This seems all too plausible. This is NOT going to happen, folks! I’m going to get recognition as an artist and eventually make a comfortable living (and by comfortable living I mean being able to, uh, make just enough to scrape by with a computer, a studio apartment, a fish tank, and an Internet connection, while living on the cheap in the developing world).

If you read my last post for my last image, I said this one was going to be a “glitch in the Matrix”. I postponed that one. That should be next. Stay tuned.


All 17 so far (in chronological order):

Stay tuned for more entities to emerge.

~ Ends


And if you like the (experimental) sort of art that I do, and you don’t want me to have to quit or put it on a back-burner, please consider chipping in so I can keep working until I drop. Through Patreon, you can give $1 (or more) per month to help keep me going (y’know, so I don’t have to put art back on the back-burner while I slog away at a full-time job). Ah, if only I could amass a few hundred dollars per month this way, I could focus entirely on my art and writing. See how it works here.

Or go directly to my account.

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Or you can make a small, one time donation to help me keep on making art and blogging (and restore my faith in humanity simultaneously).

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6 thoughts on “New Art: Selfies From Alternate Universes # 17: The Prisoner

      1. I think innocent people would more likely be shocked or sad, but still holding onto the faint hope that things will work out. This guy just looks mean and angry! Sure, you can be innocent and mean at the same time… There are often stories in the media about X and Y who were set free after decades spent in jail for crimes they didn’t commit. And it always strikes me how serene they are. Even grateful.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. Really like the lighting in this one, in particular how the bars are shadows. Also the brush strokes seem heavier in this one which I like. The eyes hold a lot of emotion, but I like that its open ended, you’re not trying to force the issue of whether this guy is innocent or a hardened criminal on me as a viewer. I enjoy art like that rather than stuff that’s heavy handed.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Originally I had solid bars, and then while thinking about how to create appropriate shadows I realized I could just use shadows, not show the bars, and it would be more subtle. Glad you like it. I’m introducing more facets over time.

      Liked by 1 person

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