SFAU # 25, by Eric Wayne. Digital painting, 18X18″ @300 dpi, 7/12/18. [ClLICK to see in a new tab sized for your monitor.]
Hi kids. It’s your Uncle Eric. I’m back with another image in this series, and I know you’ve been dyin’ t’ see it.  If you don’t know,  all of these digital paintings are based on my humble visage after feeding it through the ever popular neural network that is Faceapp. Now, your uncle has been criticized some for working on this b’cuz other people just don’t have any faith in my ability as an artist. So, one of the things they like to say is, “the machine did it!”. Now, I done said all along that it was a co-lla-bo-ra-tion with AI. But it’s not doin’ all th’work. Well, let’s look at that more carefully.

To get to this image I fist took the left panel of my last offering (which was a pair) and experimented with feeding it through the AI different ways. And eventually it created a monstrosity. Behold:

Left panel of my last work and after butchering it with AI.

What the hell did it do to my eye?  And where’d that veil come from? It’s jacked up, but I thought it was interesting and there just had to be something I could do with that.

At the same time, guess what’s wrong with my left eye? I have the beginnings of a cataract. Just found out while working on this, serendipitously enough. Maybe that helped me. Below you can see what “the machine did” and then what I did with a drawing tablet in my lap and a stylus over I don’t know how many hours.

Here’s a little challenge for my esteemed detractors. Download the pic above, and try to start with the image on the left (it’s the actual size I started with, too), and create the one on the right on your own. Then write to me about how the machine did it.

Perhaps we need to zoom in a bit.

And a little more:

Do you notice any difference between what “the machine did” and what I did?

Uh, yeah, I’m in a bit of a mood today. I think it’s because I’ve had a cold for a few days, and it’s now moved into my chest. I’m not as perky when sick as otherwise. This is a no-brainer, but when you’re sick it tends to deflate your optimism.

Anyway, one of the things I did was make the image about 10X as big, which is why the original looks so pixelated in comparison.

“Oh, well, maybe THIS time you changed it, but all the other times the computer did it!”

Uuuuuuuh . No. I always do something much more interesting and aesthetically pleasing with it, and it requires a fair amount of skill (which doesn’t mean I don’t now see glaring flaws in every piece so far):


and, er… Do notice the one on the left, below, doesn’t even have an ear!


Some differences are more obvious when you zoom in:


Oh, and… I had to try to fix those bottom teeth, below!


I did a pretty good job with the hair, but now I can see I botched  the teeth and other things, though it might not be that obvious. And those are the more straight up ones where I don’t put an alien in  the background or something.

Back to the current piece. Here’s what it looks like in PS.

I invented the left eye…

Oh yeah, and all those tumors…

I kinda’ like the mysterious thing in the background…

It looks a bit alien.

I’m not really the realist hyper-detail kind of artist, but I can give it a go now and again when I’m moved to. I tend to learn as I do things, and experimentation is a large part of my motivation. So, doing the details in this one was a bit of trial and error, and the result is an accumulation of errors and corrections.

And so now I’ve done 25 of these, which is probably about as many as I hoped to attempt. However, I think the best ones are still to come. This series, though, has gained no traction. My Instagram account has died. People don’t know what they’re looking at and don’t bother to find out. And this forces me to reconsider continuing this work or doing something else.

I make virtually nothing off of art and my following could fit in an elevator. So, I’ve been thinking a lot about what I can do that will get me a larger audience and so I can make some money and live off my art (which I can do very cheaply).

As much as I love this series, and the potential I see in it, I may have to suspend it in order to work on material that is more accessible or appealing to a wider audience. I’m not sure. It’s an internal battle I’m having and juggling cognitive dissonance. If you know my work, you know I switch up my game a lot and experiment with different styles and approaches. That is an absolute taboo in the art world — you should create a distinct signature style for branding purposes — but, I think, really good for an artist. Point is, it’s not hard for me to switch gears for a while. In fact it’s often how I proceed.

But I am still torn, and this quandary has slowed me down a bit, but as with many things I can’t settle on an answer, and shouldn’t. I always want to surprise myself with what I make, in which case I can only predetermine so much.

Here’s the full 25 images so far. Will there be more? Let me know if you’d like to see more of them. Just click anywhere in the gallery to go into the screen-show mode.



~ 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.


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).


9 replies on “New Art: Selfies From Alternate Universes # 25

  1. Surely this series merits some exposition on one of those online art magazines like Juxtapoz or what have you. The concept’s got such a unique mix of new technologies – the face-swapping stuff in particular – and traditional techniques.

    Really like how you incorporated the ‘error’ into this one and made it your own. Love the tumours as well (now that’s a sentence I never expected to write).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know if there’s a venue for this series. I don’t think Juxtapoz would touch it. Perhaps if I do more and of a certain strain that veers more into their territory, which is originally “low brow” and specifically in relation to its founder, the great Robert Williams. I don’t know if he still runs the mag directly or has staff do it.

      I like that you get the “concept” element, which some people completely miss, and appreciate the integration of styles and approaches. I’m just getting warmed up in that department.

      Also, several of them are based on errors or flukes. The ones with really young people are weird flukes. The AI can make you younger by a decade or so — it has to work with your features and proportions — but it can’t make you a child. That only happens if you feed an image through several different ways and cause it to make a misinterpretation. Same with POC.

      Thanks for the kind words. I’m especially please that you think the series deserves to be presented somewhere.

      If I continue it, it’s only going to get better. Certainly my skills at drawing/painting faces has improved a bit. At first I was just winging it, but now I’m getting much more analytical about it.

      Thanks again for reading, commenting, and following my blog.


      1. Been reading a bit of Philip K. Dick for the first time recently (bit late to the Dick-party myself) and I definitely get some sort of futuristic/sci-fi feeling from this series and how you are going about making the pictures – can’t really put my finger on what exactly but sort of around ideas of identity, information transfer as well a larger transcendental potential of technology (glimpsing alternate universes). Also reminds me a bit of when I used to watch/make video mash-ups and just the process of mucking about with software and seeing what happens.

        Taking a glance at the Juxtapoz site it seems likes there’s a whole load of different sorts of stuff there, or even so there’s probably other similar online art magazines that could be of interest. Perhaps it might even be relevant to a technology/trans-humanism magazine – ‘Artist Explores Multiple Universes with Face-Swapping App’ or y’know ‘Selfies From Alternate Universes’ which is already a great title.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the evolution of the series. And this latest one – whoa. The ‘cracked’ look among the folds of skin and the eye – it’s evident you really honed in on those details. The left eye looks amazing, gave me chills.

    Yeah, the internal struggle. I think you have to get to the point where it isn’t a struggle and then you’ll feel better. DUH, Lani. Maybe come up w/ a timeline plan, and lists on why you should or shouldn’t con’t with this series right now, and so on to see where your mind goes.

    Good luck 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. The images you’ve made in this series are intriguing and spooky and wonderful. The culminating one with tumors is glorious. The eye! I have no trouble believing in the skill and creativity you’re deploying here and in all your work.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thanks man! I’m glad that some people can see what I’m trying to do here, and don’t get caught up in how it doesn’t fit into this or that pre-existing paradigm (quite deliberately as an underlying objective).

      Even for me it’s hard to juggle the artistic paradigms I myself use. A given style implies a whole set of preferences, beliefs, conclusions, orientations (to mediums, content, politics), etc.

      I have to struggle with other people’s rejection of my work on their particular grounds because it doesn’t catch on, and I can’t make money. In this case I am able to enter their paradigms and see my own work as alien and irrelevant. It’s a kind of barbaric shifting of geats, so to speak.

      This may be useful in adjusting my sites and trying to figure out how to lure people in despite their initial inclination to reject and oppose my work.

      Anyway, it’s great when people make the imaginative leap to see my work from my angle of vision.

      I’m still debating whether or not to continue this series, because the response has been dramatically underwhelming. We’ll see what creative solutions I can come up with.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Please persist if possible. You’re a gifted polemicist, passionate and articulate, as well as a trained and gifted artist. Your deep dive into digital media for creating art is inspiring. Your views on topics such as the bikini issue are reasoned and insightful. I wish I could help some way other than by being part of your audience, but I’ll continue to do that at the very least.


      2. Thanks, man. If I had a dozen people like you in my audience I’d be thrilled. I have about a handful, some who come and go, which is enough to keep me from losing hope when my adversaries attack and whatever my latest piece is is met with complete indifference.

        I think I’m going to have to put this series on hold for a bit and work on something that is more accessible to a wider audience. I have at least 25 more pieces in mind, and better ones. Alas, I can’t keep going knowing that I’m not getting any recognition, no increased following… for it.

        I think people would find it more interesting if they bothered to discover what it was about. People will just see a realistic image of a person and not know who it is, or that it’s the same person…

        Also, because people don’t know or care about the unknown stranger that is me, the idea of my identity shifting through different lifelines holds no interest for them. They may even not like me or my visage, which doesn’t help.

        I’ve been thinking about why this series has met with utter indifference and even hostility, and what, on the other hand, people do like.

        People like to see obvious skill, something obviously done by hand, something that requires no additional knowledge or context, and which shows a high level of professionalism or polish. It helps if they can envision how it was done but also recognize that they themselves couldn’t do it.

        So, I’m going to work in that direction a bit, which can’t hurt me, and see if I can reach a wider audience, get some sort of following, and some funds trickling in.

        Look at my latest post for the first in a new series. It’s B&W, but other ones will be in color. The first one is promising, and the requisite skills will improve, as I’m also honing those in the background (lighting, shading, modeling, perspective, anatomy…).

        Perhaps when people have an iota of interest in who I am, and trust that I am a good artist, I can continue with the SFAU series and people will appreciate it more than a desultory handful of likes punctuated by insultingly dismissive snide remarks.

        Thanks for following my blog and for your kind words.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sounds like a plan. I will follow everything you do with great interest. You have amazing range and facility both art-wise and verbally. Your bikini dance painting with the wave looming was another example — you can achieve what you want graphically with startling effect. I’m far from knowing what’s needed to break through complacency in a viewing public, but it seems to be the perennial struggle of innovators who are transgressive of norms and expectations. I’ll be drunk on my own rhetoric in a minute! But please carry on with the vitality and vision your work puts out there. Looking forward to following it.

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s