Success Story of AI artist DEHISCENCE. AI Surrealism Journal.
A Journey from Anthropology & Healthcare to AI Artistry
Barcelona, Spain, 2023 — In collaboration with the with AI Art Weekly, the esteemed digital platform, founded by Dreaming Tulpa, we’re crafting enlightening discussions on AI Surrealism and spotlight the remarkable talents within the Exquisite Workers collective.
Together, we’re crafting enlightening discussions that We’re excited to share our most recent dialogue, providing a close-up glimpse into the creative mind of DEHISCENCE.
1. What’s your background and how did you get into AI art?
I’m a Toronto based, multi-media artist. I have no formal art training, my background is in forensic anthropology and most recently in healthcare. I like to refer to my art as visual anthropological explorations of the human experience, which is quite a mouthful, but I refer to it as such, because my art is heavily influenced by my interactions with the human body through both my previous careers.
I was a really late bloomer when it comes to art, I didn’t start making art until I was 46. I started with digital painting, moved to mixed media, jumped back and forth between the two. With regards to using Artificial intelligence as part of my art process, I tinkered with Art Breeder in 2018/2019 but I really didn’t find it that useful with what I was trying to create, I like the idea of being able to “modify genes” but it still wasn’t working for me. I didn’t feel like I had enough control over the output.
A couple of years ago I was accepted into an art residency called Perfection/Speculation which was a multi-disciplinary investigation into the meanings and ethics of genetic technologies. The residency was initially postponed for a year due to COVID but proceeded in the summer of 2021 with two hubs. One in Oslo, Norway for the EU artists, and one in London, England for those of us who couldn’t travel to Oslo due to covid restrictions. Because of the need for the two hubs we decided as a group to go the digital route because the residency was a collaborative project. At that point, I started moving away from collage and digital painting and more into using artificial intelligence as an artistic tool. As I studied gene editing technology for the residency, combined with my interest in medical technology, I realized I wanted to learn to use technology to modify the human body artistically, edit my own artworks, and to build my models suited to my needs.
2. What drives you to create?
I am driven by strong moral ethics, I believe in fairness and equality, no single individual is better than any other despite their social status, or the size of their wallet. I have no room for hate or biases in my personal or professional life as I have seen first hand what hate can drive people to do and it is completely unacceptable to me. My morals and beliefs come through in my art subjects and themes.
I think of myself as a visual storyteller and I do that through my art. The stories are based on my own life experiences and the experiences of others I’ve witnessed. The social aspect of my art is heavily influenced by my work as an anthropologist and the merging of art with technology such as artificial intelligence, is influenced by my career in post-surgical critical care. My themes may be dark and gloomy or bright and vibrant. They are a reflection of the world in which we live and I hope the viewers of my art can take time to reflect on the space they hold in the world.
I believe that artists should have the space and the access to tools which allow them to fully embrace their creativity. To experiment, try new topics, themes or styles. To create however much or however little they choose to. So I am very much an advocate of artistic expression in all the many forms it may take.
3. What does your workflow look like?
My workflow is pretty standard. I start with either a rough sketch or collage and take it into Stable Diffusion. I could run it through once or multiple times depending on the outputs or whether I need to tweak the parameters. I might do some manual editing on the image in between Stable Diffusion runs or I might not. Once I get some images I can work with further, I then finish them in Photoshop or Procreate with basic things like colour correction or more complex edits like overpainting. When I make animations I use Deforum Diffusion but I have recently jumped onto the Runway Gen 2 bandwagon and have been experimenting with text to video. With the release of Midjourney V5, I have started to use Midjourney for the blending option to blend some of my older works into new base images for stable diffusion.
4. How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?
“AI tools for art are already evolving at such a fast pace, I can’t imagine what it will be like even a year from now.”
I think there is room for both traditional artists and artists who use AI as a tool in their workflow. There is certainly a shift in the art world and AI plays a big part of that, I don’t want to speculate too much on what the future holds but the concerns around copyright will get sorted out, the technology will adapt, the artists will adapt and I think AI as an artistic medium will be around for some time.
One area I’d like to touch on is the use of AI tech in physical and occupational therapy. With my background in post-surgical critical care physiotherapy, I have often thought about how useful AI tech could be for those with reduced mobility, cognitive impairments or as a therapeutic tool for those with Acquired Brain Injuries (ABI’s). Whether it is used simply to help pass time in a hospital setting or used for more complex cognitive rehabilitation, the possibilities are endless. This is definitely an area which should be explored.
5. Who is your favourite artist?
I have quite a few, I really enjoy street artists and I am always on the hunt for new murals. Herakut, Nychos, Various & Gould are a few artists that come to mind. I also enjoy the work of Adrian Ghenie, Gerard Garouste, and Conor Harrington who also paints beautiful murals.
From the digital world, there are so many I cannot name them all, but there is a special place for Daniel Jerome Obispo, INTROVOID, Evelyn O, and Violet Bondand Olga Shpak are my two favourite photographers.
6. What is your favourite prompt when creating art?
I have a lot of prompts I use and they are rarely the same one repeated. I’m always editing them slightly. Words I often use in prompts include,
anatomical ecorche. I also like to use
medium shot to frame the image and the style I use is expressionism.
7. Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?
I also had a recent collaborative project on FXHash called SESSIONS with Frank Force which was curated by Fort Gallery NFT and NFT Museum of Newberry, SC. Artists are paired with a generative artist for the project, ours was called “Brutal Nature”. Very fun to collaborate with a generative artist. Highly recommend it.
Currently working on a collaborative collection with Daniel Jerome Obispo on Objkt called “Strange Echoes” and have ongoing collaborative projects with Hell D. who I have collaborated with on numerous occasions.
I have also recently started incorporating glitch work into my AI infused work for two new series. One is called “Fragmented Reflections” which is figurative work and the other is outside of my norm as they are landscape images called “Corroded Horizons” which is about humankind’s relationship with nature. The first in the series is called “Fractured Planet” and it is currently available on SuperRare.
8. Would you tell us about the AI Surrealism exhibition in NYC?
I thought the Exquisite Workers curation by Roger Haus and Anna Dart was incredible. They did a fabulous job at getting a wide variety of artists with a diverse pallet of artwork. It was quite the honour to be included. The artist DM chat was lively and supportive of one another and it was really nice to learn more about other artists.
I’ve worked with Superchief Gallery NFT before and I am always thrilled to be part of an exhibition with them. The venue at Canvas 3.0 in the Oculus building within the new World Trade Centre in NYC looked amazing. While I was not able to see it in person, the photographs were proof enough.
My artworks for the AI Surrealism exhibition consisted of two 1/1 artworks from my “Bleeding Earth” Collection. “Polluted Horizons” (which is still available) and “The Last Breath” (sold). The central figure in both artworks is Mother Earth herself, presented in a dapper but frail appearance, embodying both her resilience and the impact of our actions on the natural world.
The strange and unsettling biological creature she holds serves as a potent symbol of humankind’s greed, arrogance and individualism. The creatures remind us that our actions have consequences beyond our own individual lives.
The imagery highlights the delicate balance between human action and natural consequence. At the same time, the frail appearance of Mother Earth reminds us of our own mortality and the finite nature of the resources we so often take for granted.
9. What does it mean to be an AI Surrealist for you in the times we live in?
I never really considered myself a surrealist before taking part in this exhibition. Historically surrealists often used more than one medium and experimented with subjects and mediums. In that way, I would fall under the Surrealist umbrella.
“I also think artists who use AI as part of their process, can automatically be labelled as surrealist. When one incorporates emerging technology into an art process they are going in somewhat blind as to what the output will be.”
The artist must use their creativity to drive the AI to obey their creative design. Elements in my work are sometimes taken from dreams I’ve had. I have very vibrant and dramatic dreams, and there is always something that would look great in a piece of art.
10. Anything else you would like to share?
I would recommend being diligent and patient with your curation of output images. I think curation is very important and it is one area I wish I paid more attention to when I first started using AI. I believe quality over quantity is also important.
Don’t let the drama in the space get you down. Focus on your skills and your art. Mint what you want, when you want.
“I often think of minting as a blockchain portfolio and a history of my work. Whether it sells or not, it is an official record.”
Lastly, you are free to express your artistic vision in whatever medium you want to, however you want to. Have fun and remember to have a good work/life balance.
“Taking time away from social media is important.”
Thanks so much to AI Art Weekly for making this interview possible together with Exquisite Workers. Thanks DEHISCENCE for chatting with us. And thanks to you for reading. If you find this article useful, please consider sharing with your favorite AI friends and fellow AI communities. They will love it!
Meet the artist: DEHISCENCE
Organizer: AI Art Weekly
Organizer: Exquisite Workers
Do you have any questions?
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No problem! We invite you to explore the AI tool Box by Time Traveler AI which features a compelling X thread covering major AI tools such as DALL-E 2, MidJourney, and Stable Diffusion. This thread includes prompts and examples showcasing the outcomes of these tools.
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