SFAU #19, by Eric Wayne. Digital painting, 18×40.5″ @300 dpi, 5/2018. [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.

We got a full-on brunette this time. I found a new way to tweak out the neural network to produce more distant cousins, so to speak. There’s no option to change hair color, or race… There used to be in a separate version which was SHUT DOWN before I ever got my hands on it because the social justice advocates decided, in their infinite wisdom, that anything that has to do with race simply must be racist, violent, and genocidal. I’m exaggerating slightly, I hope. But they most assuredly did kill the app. Nevertheless, I have found a way to confuse the AI and get some interesting results that are further afield in terms of complexion… Indeed, I have some that are obviously black. I may include a few of those very judiciously, as the possible backlash is as vehement as it is predictable. That kind of content must be approached carefully, sensitively, intelligently, and strategically. This female may not be 100% white. Shhhhh.

[Note: I partly chose this one because my girlfriend liked the “big pink lips”, and thought she had some attitude.]

The previous 2 were a bit heavy. We had the prisoner and the girl in the psyche ward with stitches on her forehead suggesting she’d had some invasive therapy to make her more normal.

This one I thought would be not comic relief, but a WINK letting use know that we and the subjects are in on the gag. These aren’t real people, and yet, here one would be participating in the dialogue, in a way. And, well, she had her own ideas and didn’t just want to give an acknowledging wink.

Sure, I had the idea of throwing a Japanese movie monster in the background. And then I chose Gan-Q because of the pink bolts of energy coming out of his eye, which would, with a little finesse, match her lips. But only after working on it a while did it occur to me that her wink had changed. There are two open eyes in the painting, and Gan-Q’s is on a direct horizontal line from her closed eye. That was NOT intentional, not consciously, and yet is Survey of Art History 101 compositional logic.

And so I feel a little like the figures are F’ing with me. That last one didn’t go in the direction I intended either. She was also going to step out of character a bit and acknowledge being aware she was in something like the Matrix, but instead she acknowledged her still, enduring presence in a moment of self-reflection (she looks like she’s looking at herself in a mirror). I wanted this one to be light, but, now there’s a figure conveying a message I hadn’t preconceived and I’m not sure what it says exactly. Does she control the monster (who fought Godzilla AND Ultra-man), or are they the same creature.

I wanted the background to be preposterous, but now it rather seamlessly fits. I like the ambiguity, and mystery. I’ve said all along that this project is a collaboration with AI, but it’s also a collaboration with my subconscious and perhaps with the entities that are emerging.

And now for some details

All 19 so far (in chronological order):

Stay tuned for more entities to emerge. There will be surprises.

~ 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.

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8 replies on “New Art: Selfies From Alternate Universes # 19: with Gan-Q

  1. I like this one best I think. I like that the pink spots by the monster look a lot like the lips. Also the buildings in the back look like Anselm Keifer’s old studio in France, and the monster is destroying it. Have you seen Over Your Cities Grass Will Grow? Also she does look sassy.


    1. I haven’t seen it. I’m a Kiefer fan from decades back. I saw some other documentary about him and I just wonder about these artists that get so rich. Some of his very best work is his early stuff. Now he’s using cranes to stack concrete enclosures, and making faux airplanes in hangars. Fine, but some of his early paintings are still better than all that.

      These just keep evolving. I have so many candidates and ideas that the ones completed only represent a fraction of the overall vision. We’ll see how this develops. In each one I try to add something new, whether it’s a new person, technique, process (which might not be visible), or concept. I originally hadn’t thought about the series evolving in that way, but rather through numbers and variation. Oh well, more to come.


  2. I love the background! You usually keep it rather simple, are you going to experiment more with it? If you want to go overboard, you could say that her right eye is her consciousness/awareness, her left eye is her unconscious, and the monster’s eye is the subconscious.


    1. I have several ways I intend for the series to evolve. The one I am near finishing now has something completely different in it.

      I’ve noticed that there is a very strong tendency among art audiences to find something, anything, any grounds on which to dismiss a body of work with a desultory wave of the hand. I’ve had several people dismiss my entire body of work from the last 5 years on the grounds that it is “digital”, hence lacks a “human touch”, isn’t “intuitive”, is just “copy and paste”, “isn’t painting”, “there’s no original” etc… So, part of my strategy is to thwart some of the utter-dismissal-bombs that people will toss.

      Incidentally, I find this tendency to look for an excuse to dismiss art… how shall I say this.. uuuh, missing the point. When I look at art or listen to music I’m likely to find something that legitimizes the work for me, not something to categorically disregard it. The only music that I won’t listen to is music that literally hurts my ears (ex., high frequency noises that could damage my hearing).

      The backgrounds were never that simple, because even a simple background needs to be appropriate and can be a lot of work. At very least it’s a shape. But I know what you mean. In some cases I am likely to make more apparently complex or significant backgrounds. This background was not the most difficult so far. The one with the clocks was. Or the one with the shadows of prison bars (seemingly a simple solution that took a while to come up with and longer to execute).


      Liked by 1 person

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