If you missed SFAU#35, see below:
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.
Death and transcendence are the theme of the final pair in the series. The images are intended to imagine the simultaneous, subjective experience and outward appearance of death. Both have a sense of the individual being pulled away from their bodies like the receding tide, and not unpleasantly drifting into a somehow familiar incorporeal realm. I thought they would have turned out more stark, but they strike me as peaceful.
Incidentally, I looked this up as best I could in Google searches, but very few artists have painted themselves dead, and nobody has painted themselves segueing out of life in both a male and female version. It’s a first of sorts, but not one that anyone is likely to ever encounter.
Both images are based on one of my earliest, and most ambitious digital paintings from over 15 years ago, Death, Dissolution, and the Void:
There are two heads in this early piece, and I fed the one on the right through the neural network to see what it would produce.
And then I fed it through again and again, recombined the results — seriously mucking with the app is part of the process — and eventually produced the images on which I based the last two pieces.
What was the AI thinking? These results were so bizarre and otherworldly I knew I had to use them. I’m not even sure I’ve really done them justice, even if they are based on my own digital painting. Let me check them side by side.
I find the AI versions more macabre, and more flatly dead. They are like death masks, and I’d like to think mine have more of the human in them. I’m afraid mine may be holding on more to life.
I didn’t paint over them, but recreated them, so that they would represent my own interpretation. Here’s an early head in process.
At first I just copied it as is, but later corrected the overly wide chin, the distorted left temple, etc. And I eventually placed the head as if it were submerged in a liquid, or some other, more mysterious material plane.
The full images again:
Just the heads side by side, without most the background:
The whole series 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.
I’ll do a final article for the series as a whole soon.
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).
2 replies on “New Art: SFAU # 36”
Painting yourself dead? Now there is room for a lot of discussion and contemplation about the end of life.
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What a fascinating and original project, Eric. It is powerful to conceptualise and express images of oneself dead… must bring up all sorts of thoughts and feelings for you. What courageous pieces of work. Thank you for sending me this link.
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