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.
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.
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).