SFAU #35, by Eric Wayne. Digital painting, 20″x135″ @300 dpi. 5/21/2020. [CLICK TO SEE IT IN A NEW TAB SIZED FOR YOUR SCREEN.]

If you are new to this series all the images are based on recent photos of me after basically being fed through a neural network (which can change age, gender, etc.) — the popular app FaceApp —  then edited and painted using various programs. None of the people actually exist, and thus they are like Self-portraits From Alternate Universes hence SFAU.

While I maintain that visual art is its own language, and needs to stand on its own without an explanation, I also find when I do give people background it can help them access an image even in the purely visual realm.

I can give you a musical analogy. Surely the best way to understand music is to listen to it, rather than read about it. However, during a music appreciation class when our teacher played Igor Stravinsky’s “The Right of Spring (Le Sacre du Printemps)”, another student spouted, “It sounds like Planet of the Apes.” Instantly I was able to appreciate Igor’s music.

That said, I’m going to withhold any background on the content until #36 (the final in the series), because it’s going to be a companion to this one. In that case, to the degree interpretations are relevant, you are on your own for now.

About the technique

I’ve repeatedly switched up my technique during this series, and while in the last two I attempted a more textured, oil-painting look, this one is more pastel, whispy, and loose in execution. Part of that is because I did virtually all of it zoomed out.

I started with just a rough blocking in of color. I was working from an a starting image I’d created (which I’ll share later with #36), and which I significantly altered on the fly.

One of the valuable things I’ve learned in all the tutorials and courses I’ve done is how to make and adjust my own brushes in Photoshop. I did this entire piece with just one simple brush of my own devising. Not concerned with the texture and close-up details, I was able to focus exclusively on the surface image, which is a much more efficient way of working. This loose approach gives it a bit of an impressionist feel.

I expanded the image out quite a bit, and it ended up being the precise dimensions of my monitor. I intended to spend a day on the close-up details, but when I finally zoomed in at the end, I liked how it looked well enough.


Here’s the full piece again.

SFAU #35, by Eric Wayne. Digital painting, 20″x135″ @300 dpi. 5/21/2020. [CLICK TO SEE IT IN A NEW TAB SIZED FOR YOUR SCREEN.]

And here’s the whole series so far in a slide-show.

Or you can see them in a thumbnail gallery. Just click anywhere inside to go into the screen-show mode.

And here’s a page with individual posts about individual additions, with details, process, and so on: Selfies From Alternate Universes.

Stay tuned if you are interested in this series. I’m planning on hammering out the next 4 in the next month to complete the series.

~ 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).


11 replies on “New Art: SFAU # 35

  1. Crazy series Eric. Thumbs up. I am still trying to get my head around it. Provocative. You are on to something, an “everyperson” thing? We are all … There is also could be a reference to voices in our/your head. A little scary, but a great visualization of that. The mom voice, the jerk, the victim, the charmer, etc.

    They would make a great performance projected on museum walls, like the Van Gogh exhibition in France in a salt quarry? And get people to think about their alter-egos. At the moment though you are too sincere to be in the Guggenheim, what posers there.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks Michael. It’s reassuring to me to hear from a serious painter such as yourself that you apapreciate this series. Sometimes painters are anti-digital. Anyway, I think your analysis is good.

      I’m doubtful the art world would have much interest in this body of work, because, well, if you are familiar with identity politics, consider contemporary are and identity politics go hand in hand.

      How would this work be seen through the lens of identity politics? It’s DOA. They’d start with the sure conviction it must be racist and sexist, and then only try to find any plausible evidence to make their case. In the end the series would be deemed a deplorable and failed white male attempt at relevance, that was unconscious of it’s own flagrant racism, etc. I learned this lesson very well in grad school.

      Only smaller, more independent venues might touch it, if they are blissfully unaware or insufficiently indoctrinated into contemporary/political art-think, or don’t care, or are willing to defy it.

      I could be wrong, but considering my MFA in identity politics (it was supposed to be art, but at spome point art became a subset of politics), my prediction is that this series must be rejected by the art world on principal. It would be counterproductive to the revolution for a white male to make an intelligent and engaging work about identity. My place is to be an ally to the cause, a supporter, cheering from the dugout, not a player on the field.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The space you give them in your brain is like crossing a desert dragging a dead donkey in a burlap sack. Politics is way down the line from real art. You are not wrong and perceptive, but they don’t have human nature or truth on their side.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I see postmodernism / identity politics in the art world more like a virus that I’ve survived and am trying to avoid getting again. While you are right that I give it more attention than it deserves, that’s because it’s hijacked the art world, and if one doesn’t know how to look out for it and grapple with it, it can be deadly to art and artist’s careers.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Wow. I wasn’t expecting this! I can’t wait for the explanation on this one (and the next one). Creepy. What’s with her tongue peeking out. Is she dead or alive? Love the background and the brush you used with this one. This one’s my favorite of the series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Right, I think there’s truth in the idea that we all share a core identity on a basic level, and what separates us are circumstances. This flies in the face of the pernicious idea of an “evil other” that is inherently different, inferior, or objectionable. We may all be different on the surface, and that does matter, but inherently, we share the human condition: the plight of being perishable conscious beings who depend on each other for our sense of self, belonging, and meaning.


  3. Love it. Don’t get the closed eyes, unless Lani is right and this is your dead self – death mask sort of thing. Pandemic affecting you? Or me? Anyway, you have a lot of good ones here. You are as old as you feel? Has science fiction not taught us yet that it’s dangerous to play with the time-line? Oh well, more fun to jump out of the box, right?
    Will the real Eric Wayne please stand up?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think that’s a funny thing in that I’m not actually in any of these, but cumulatively something more elusive but more meaningful might emerge. I might be the thread that connects them all, which is more central, but not as apparent as simple physical appearance.

      Thanks for reading and commenting!


  4. You’ve done a great job of explaining your process which is very impressive! I had no idea you could create your own digital brushes, but I know nothing of digital art, you inspire me to learn someday!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. At some point if you are interested in learning, there are great online courses, including free material. But we need lots of people working with traditional mediums to flesh out the artistic universe we share.


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