Sunday, December 10, 2023

Tearing apart the history of art for parts: Vermeer


If you are following along at home, you are wondering if I made a lot of progress today on my project of photographs of library workers with their spirit animals.

Yes and no.

Just before launching into my next round of portraits that I downloaded onto my computer this morning, I continued a kind of side exploration into melding the portraits into classical oil paintings. This was spurred by the chance of one of my portraits looking like The Mona Lisa, and I have been messing around with not only the merging into paintings, but also with creating different oil painting techniques for my images. 

Here is an example from the portrait called Tristan's Turtle. She is residing in a Vermeer painting here:

But even this level of practice productivity had to take a break.

For reasons not entirely clear here, I decided I needed to take old master paintings and preliminarily eliminate the people from them. 

At this point I fully plan to employ these emptied pictures into my creations, but I don't have a clear path to that. Nevertheless, the paintings- I'll just show you the Vermeer ones now- are so interesting with the people removed that I couldn't help sharing those with you today.

Yesterday I defended how much and how complicated the work of the pictures I have been making can be. And it can be a ton of work and learning and inventing. The tools I use should not really be called Artificial Intelligence because it is so frustratingly obtuse and difficult to work with, so random, and so much like any automated pseudo intelligence, like a phone tree, or a customer assistance chatbot, that you've ever used and rarely gotten good results from. But, my god, when this kind of visual AI hits the sweet spot, like in removing figures from paintings like this, the results can be so quick and amazing it turns all these ideas on their head. 

And, dare I say it, it even makes it all interesting. 


Here are a few empty Vermeers. They are the full paintings, ones you would likely even recognize, but stripped of their figures:


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