“Machine is my muse.” — Jenni Pasanen
Jenni Pasanen has tried everything. Acrylics, ink, clay, watercolor, markers, oils, pulp… The list goes on. Her first (short-lived) foray into digital art was using Paint on a Windows 95 machine.
When the internet became commonplace, she started taking digital art more seriously, using a Wacom tablet, and familiarizing herself with as many programs as possible. She learned to code. She taught herself 3D animation. But she still felt something was missing in her practice, something she’d been chasing for years. She still hadn’t found it.
Then she stumbled across the work of photographer and artist Thor Elias, who had recently been minting artist-machine collaborative pieces. Pasanen knew that she had found what she was looking for, if only she could figure out what she was looking at. This is how she discovered Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN), an AI algorithm that uses two neural networks that compete to generate new data based on inputs they are taught.
Having a rich experience with technology already behind her, she took to GANs quite naturally, and her true artistic voice emerged in the process.
“What we see in abstract GAN-generated pictures is something we interpret through experiences we’ve had in our lives; therefore, we paint ourselves in all our creations.”
— Jenni Pasanen
Mask Obscura is a collaboration between Jenni and her GAN, a series of beautiful beings made of time and nature. This collection of 16 unique pieces is split into four smaller categories: Season, Element, Day, and Time. These four are the final pieces in Act I of Mask Obscura. Act II is yet to come. The first 12 pieces in the series can be seen here.
Her process begins with either a direct inspiration from her GAN output or with an original idea she brings to realize with the GAN. In all cases, GAN is muse and collaborator. She interacts with her GAN for hours on end, coaxing just the right output that will inspire her. When it finally lands, she gets it into her hands to twist, crop, edit, and digitally paint until the piece is unmistakably her vision.
“A machine has no emotional limit on what it can create, which leads it to generate things that the human mind could never stumble across on its own. This medium forms the basis of my pieces and opens up my imagination to wilder paths. By combining art and machine learning, we can create something unprecedented and fascinating.”
— Jenni Pasanen
Just over a year ago, when generating new images, she noticed shapes that reminded her of a bust with a distorted face. They haunted her. They followed her. She kept coming back to them. She’d fallen in love with their shape, movement, and texture. From there, the idea for the series started to build up: a series of beautiful Beings bound by nature and time.
Read More: rare.makersplace.com