Kaeli VanFossen
@KaeliVanfossen Published June 7, 2023

What’s your background and how did you get into AI art?

Oh gosh, my background is a long one, but I’ll try to keep this brief, haha. I was always a traditional artist. Drawing people and things was just a compulsion I couldn’t turn off, nor did I want to. I also loved coloring, which naturally evolved into painting. In my professional life, I was drawn to tech and computers, but I wanted to work creatively. Graphic design and photography retouching were perfect fits for me. Eventually, I got Adobe software, and was able to create my art for paper or canvas digitally first. This approach was easier as it allowed me to work in layers and make changes before working with paint. I used to collage elements from stock imagery and then play with color and composition. When AI art tools emerged, my past experience allowed me to immediately recognize the benefits these could bring to my own process.

“Luminaris Abstractia” by KVF

What drives you to create?

As I mentioned before, and I’m sure many artists can relate, creation comes from an impulse. Whether it’s something that inspires or upsets you, this urge builds up inside of us and it feels necessary to release this visual flow of ideas. For me, I have to laugh because it seems like my ‘impulse faucet’ got stuck and is always on.

What does your workflow look like?

I find that when I’m overwhelmed with too many ideas and unsure of where to begin, I start to visually play it out. This often begins on platforms like Pinterest, where I curate boards for inspiration. I’ve found this process also helps me narrow down my direction. Once I know what I want to create, my current process begins with AI. I generate multiple inspiration elements and save them all to a folder. Then, I open a few artboards in Photoshop and start cutting and collaging until the vision of what I want to see begins to take shape. Once I’ve established the layout of my composition, the colors, and the elements or figures, I start blending seams and finessing details to make everything pristine and “finished”. If I’m taking the piece to canvas, I typically skip the digital overpainting and just use my digital art as a visual reference. I work with acrylic paint, which is known to dry quickly. To achieve smooth blends, I often use slow-drying and airbrush mediums for better control over the formula and its application.

“Herald of the Bulls” by KVF

How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?

You know, there’s often a lot of negativity surrounding AI, particularly in art. Much of this stems from valid concerns about copyright and obsolescence, which I wholeheartedly understand. I think the pushback is important to draw attention to the necessary safeguards we might need going forward. However, I’m also excited about the positive impacts AI art could have on society, primarily due to its accessibility to vast groups of people who might not have previously explored their own creativity. I imagine that in the future, we’ll encounter many accomplished artists who share stories about how their artistic journey began with AI.

Who is your favourite artist?

Oh, I certainly have an endless list of artists I adore, and their styles are often strikingly different from my own. A few AI artists who have always stood out to me for their incredibly unique aesthetics and visuals are Dehiscence, Infiniteyay, and Blac.ai. Another artist, Chelsea Jones (known as Ohchelllo on Twitter), like myself, creates at the intersection of physical and digital artworks. Her artistic style is vibrant and beautiful. Some traditional artists that I admire include abstract artist Marie Theres Madani, and contemporary artists Charlotte Keates and Dzvinya Podlyashetska, as well as designer Dirk van der Kooij.

“NEIGHBORS #100” by Infiniteyay

What is your favorite prompt when creating art?

Honestly, there are so many talented artists who create these incredible prompts that I could never have conceived of myself. I’m always blown away when I see them. Personally, my secret is /blend, image.jpg, image.jpg, image.jpg, haha! I often ask the AI to fuse a lot of my own work to conceptualize new ideas in my style, and sometimes I just play around to experiment and coax out new ideas. But I must admit, I’m not the best at creating prompts!

“Shades of Azure” by KVF

Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?

It might be embarrassing to admit, but when do I NOT have at least five projects spinning on plates at any given time? LOL. Currently, I’m preparing a new digital art collection that will be minted on Tezos. Simultaneously, I’m working on another new collection of art prints, I have a few group collaborations on the horizon, and about ten paintings that I need to set some time aside for. The list truly goes on and on. I could keep you here all day, haha.

Would you tell us about the AI Surrealism exhibition in NYC?

Absolutely! The AI Surrealism exhibit has truly blown me away. When I was originally invited to participate, I had no idea it would be this grand or hosted by the prestigious Superchief Gallery. I am so humbled to be included in such a massive and spectacular show. It was Anna Dart who initially approached me to create something unique for the event with Exquisite Workers. Anna and Roger Haus are co curators, and the project was to be a surrealism exploration, with the only requirement being that it had to be made ‘with’ AI. Each of us, all 100 artists, created one or multiple pieces that explored surrealism in our own artistic styles, which really challenged us to stretch our creativity. The show is currently on display in NYC, running through June 24th, at the Oculus Westfield World Trade Center. Once you’re inside, look for Canvas 3.0 on the ground level—that’s where the Superchief Gallery is located. From there, you can view everyone’s artwork and even rotate the screens to expand the view of the art, which is truly remarkable! My piece, ‘A Muse in Wonderland’, was a fusion of my own artistic style and some color inspiration borrowed from a favorite Surrealism artist I hold dear, Eileen Agar. ‘Muse’ is a scenic fusion of abstraction, figurative, and landscape elements. It was conceived with AI, collaged, and then digitally painted on a tablet using Photoshop.

“A Muse In Wonderland” by KVF

What does it mean to be an AI Surrealist for you in the times we live in?

Genuinely, it is an honor. As artists who incorporate emerging technologies into our processes, it’s hard to envision how we are currently shaping the future of the art world. I often ponder what that future will look like. I am so grateful to be amongst these artists, and I can only hope that my modest contribution to this movement will always have a positive impact.

Anything else you would like to share?

Yes, if you’re in NYC, please come to the show. It’s open to the public, so anyone can visit and experience the works we’ve created. If you’re not in NYC, you can visit our exhibit in the Superchief AI Surrealism World on Foundation, which is an NFT marketplace. Some of the artworks are editions, while others, like mine, are unique 1 of 1’s. Many of the works have already been collected so quickly — if one speaks to you, I recommend collecting it before it’s gone. Also, thank you so much to everyone who has supported my art and growth in this community. I surely wouldn’t have any of these opportunities without you, and I am very grateful.

by @dreamingtulpa