What’s your background and how did you get into AI art?
I’ve been a filmmaker and photographer for over 25 years, travelling the world working as a television commercials director, also creating music videos and short films.
I grew up in a creative family in New Zealand by the beach and ocean, this is home. For as long as I can remember I’ve had a camera and taken photographs. My artist parents watched old movies every-night, which sparked my love of everything cinematic, especially the film-musical.
At Elam School of Fine Arts I graduated with a BFA in Intermedia, time-based art: installation, performance, music, interactive, film, animation etc.
I was living in London and was away shooting a commercial, when I got ill and never recovered. Later that year I got a head-knock and never recovered. Now back in New Zealand mostly bedbound. After years of ‘life-grief’, unable to be on set, I discovered creating with AI in Midjourney in July 2021 and have been addicted and experimenting since.
AI saved my life 😊
Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?
Yes, this week has been exciting with a few things happening!
My genesis collection called Dance Interrupted launched on Makers Place.
Dance Interrupted is an ode to the poignant disruption felt when once-loved dance becomes a spectre of its former existence, ever-present yet agonisingly out of reach. Synchronising the corporeal and emotional turbulence endured by those living with chronic illness into a visual harmony that is at once mesmerising and shattering. Digital distortions fragment the dancers: the dissonant melodies and fractured beauty of interrupted dance echoing a silent scream from a past life. Somewhere over the rainbow. A paradox where vibrant movement and mournful lamentation coexist in a life interrupted. An internal inferno of longing, passion, and smouldering pain among the embers of a past life—lost, yet ever cherished. Between the vivid and the interrupted, a whispered refrain echoes: I miss dancing.
The collection is being released in drops of 5, of differing ratios (9:16, 2:3, 1:1, 3:2, 16:9) and the first five artworks have been curated by Farrah Carbonell. I’m thrilled to show Dance Interrupted #1 at MET AMS in Amsterdam, which is curated by Accelerate Art.
Then my first AI music video I created for “Strawberry Fool” by Kirsten Morrell was released this week also. Kirsten is well known for her transcendent voice, and sparkling career with Goldenhorse. In my earlier life I directed music videos with visual storytelling and choreography; I’m excited about the possibilities of moving-AI.
And last but not least there is Synergy (1+1=3!), a Foundation World initiated by moi, features blends between AI artists in web3, capturing the zeitgeist of this unique and transformative moment in time. The collection grows as artists invite new artists to blend their blend with to create something new. Artist B blends Artist A’s initial image with an image of their own, resulting in artwork that is surprising, collaborative, and pushing the boundaries of individual styles to create new worlds of colour, texture and form. A one-of-a-kind collection, each blend reflects the magic that happens in the dance of creative synergy.
What drives you to create?
Creating is my raison d’être, curiosity my drive. I have a rich imagination and love conceptualizing, visualizing, and bringing ideas to life, often using metaphor and symbolism.
Illness has tethered me to home. Wanting to raise awareness for the millions worldwide who are bed- or house-bound with an ‘invisible illness’, I found relief and possibility in the boundless realm of digital creation.
With AI, my phone became a “camera for your imagination” (Claire Silver). Capturing the invisible, giving form to the formless: inspiring my muse. AI is like coding with language to capture images direct from your mind’s eye.
Finding my rhythm again, I’m dancing with AI moving image, a dance of emotion and technology. I love to follow an inspiration and see where it goes.
Emotional expression. Play. Shared learning. The satisfaction of solving a problem. Experimenting. These make my heart sing.
What does your workflow look like?
I’m always thinking and visualising ideas. Learning and creating are great painkillers. I work instinctively, heuristically as well as analytically. I love technology and am forever curious.
Depending on the project and tool I’m using, my workflow is different. I combine pre-visualisation with trial and error. Spending time conceptualising mentally, a lot of time in my head, then jumping into new AI tools and seeing what they can do! I follow the idea, the visual: on a hunt for the feeling imagined.
If creating in Midjourney I use prompt crafting and settings to bring the noise to life, often going through and around an idea, approaching a concept from varying angles to see where it goes. Sometimes creating hundreds of images, curating down, sometimes only a few. In Lightroom I grade the images, paying attention to exposure and colour, both of which affect mood and meaning. Sometimes I use Photoshop.
If creating with Stable Diffusion, Automatic1111 and Deforum, I test the prompt on a still to get the style and idea in the zone. Testing models, prompts and settings with short animations to limit render time. Using the same seed, then testing the settings for how each frame becomes the next: with different cadence, strength, CFG and noise etc to get interesting images and transitions. I think of AI animation like photocopying a photocopy of a photocopy, in the way that each image has a subtle distortion or change that adds up over time. With AI, settings determine how similar each frame is to the previous image: how quickly the image changes, how close it is to the prompt, how much contrast, noise and how many steps diffused.
I try things, see what works, play, and in this process discover a methodology that merges the idea and visuals.
I love adding 3d camera moves to scenes, for depth and storytelling, it’s like having a crane with a 360 rotating head. Once I’ve got a few tests I like, I guesstimate the dynamic settings for a longer version and run it. Then run it again, and again, learning from each pass, making multiple adjustments until magic happens. I post produce in DaVinci Resolve.
What is your favourite prompt when creating art?
Every day in 2023 I’m generating an AI image using a formulaic prompt including the day and date.
2023 captures AI at a pivotal moment of evolution, through versions and algorithmic developments. Day by day to tell the story of 2023.
[month day 2023][4 formula words][extra words][--version] [--ar 3:2]
[October 30 2023][xxxx xxxx, xxxx xxxx][sunshine][--v 5.2][--ar 3:2]
How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?
AI is set to have a profound, multifaceted and transformative impact on society and art, integrating into our lives, enhancing everything from creative endeavours, data entry to solving global challenges!
Things that interest me are personalised learning, freedom of creation from physical limitations, and AI taking over perfunctory tasks leaving more space for life and art. I hope there will be leaps in heathcare diagnosis and treatment, and breakthroughs in addressing environmental emergencies.
The intersection of filmmaking with AI art especially intrigues me and opens up a world of incredible possibilities.
Who is your favourite artist?
I love Frieda Kahlo for her style and tenacity, Rothko for his colour fields, Maya Deren and Melies for experimental cinema, Jacques Demi for French New Wave cool, stylised visuals and poetic storytelling.
I love Vivian Maier’s enigmatic street photography, Matthew Barney for his conceptual interdisciplinary art-sculpture-film, Pina Bausch’s passionate choreography and Busby Berkeley’s cinematic patterns, as well as Jonas Mekas for his poetry and avant garde filmmaking.
& thanks to AI artist-friends including Claire Silver, Jacqui Kenny of Argleton Lane, Erika Rand, Quantum Spirit, AI Machina, Illustrata, Nuclear Samurai, Anna Dart, Lily Illo, DVK, pAIperdoll, Pixlosopher, Chazz Gold, Blac, Bijoux Earth, Miss Mojo, Le Moon, Ibuki, Kat Jak, Dancevatar, Historic Crypto, Rebel Without Applause, Amli, Ada Crow et al.
Anything else you would like to share?
Thanks for the chat!
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