I arrive at my studio desk in the back bedroom of my home either because of an impulse and need to paint or because I planned and dedicated time to do so.
Either way, it is inevitable.
Rhythmically and predictably I remove objects that might distract or clutter my space: papers, books, camera, or stray canvases
I place my computer next to my workspace, set up an audiobook or video to listen to and pull up an image as a reference, if needed.
I sort through my brushes and usually pull out three: a triad composed of a medium or large filbert brush, a medium/stiff-bristled round brush, and a delicate/long/soft round brush.
I scrape paint off my palette-paper or remove a sheet if it has become too cluttered. I’m a collector of dried paint scraps and currently am storing them in a used Mike and Ike box as visual, tactile, inedible candy. Once I have done this, I add fresh paint as needed.
As I paint, I move from section to section, subdividing the space as I work and rationalizing its movements as the composition emerges. Each area is like a paragraph that I compose and then come back to again and again, finding the ways in which it connects and informs the body of work.
I work until my conversation with the painting dies down. The back and forth slows and we both need a break. So I give it space and come back when we are ready to continue.
Recently I have been using DeepDream Generator as a tool for reinterpreting and processing my paintings. The program is fairly easy to use and I have enjoyed discovering new flavors and characteristics in my work.
There is something exhilarating about subjecting my work to this convolutional neural network. The level of flexibility it offers and the user-friendly interface create a pleasant experience. There is a delightful touch of anticipation in watching the progress bar, waiting to see if the image is enhanced or obscured. I obsessively return to the webpage and hardly a day passes when I do not use it.
However, this process is simply a part of a greater thought project. As I have produced and considered my Mutations, I have begun to look for ways in which the process of
‘painting > photograph > processed image > painting’
reflects and dialogues with contemporary discourse concerning the relationships between technology and nature.
Selective breeding, genetic modification, and biomimetics all appear to be extensions of and evidence for the human desire to appropriate and subjugate nature, to process it to the point where it is palatable, habitable, or practical. I would like to examine the ideals that inspire and motivate the development of machine learning and contemplate the ethical implications of its usage within the context of art and the natural world. I do not expect to identify a solution or establish a thoroughly accurate assessment of this complex issue, but rather I hope to illuminate the invisible and draw attention to the ways in which humanity continues to alter and appropriate nature.