One of the inevitable questions that every artist will be asked in the years to come is what impact the Covid pandemic had on their work.
This traumatic health crisis has dramatically changed the lives of all humans, but it seems to have had an enormous impact on artists in particular. Unexpectedly forced to retreat from daily routines, many found that this involuntary isolation opened a creative door which moved them into totally new directions.
That has certainly been the case with Stephen Haynes. The well-known Plein Air artist, who has been represented by the Trippe Gallery in Easton for many years, found himself far removed from his professional duties as a commercial creative director over the last two years. And like many, he began consuming countless hours of podcasts and websites with this newly found idle time.
And it was during this time that Haynes stumbled on a website entitled, “This Person Does Not Exist.”
Using the power of a warehouse full of computers, and a software program using artificial intelligence, the website creates photographic images of faces that were entirely the product of computation. In short, none of these people ever lived on this planet.
Beyond the fact that he found himself totally amazed at the results, Stephen started to envision another possible step for these artificial souls. In due course he started to doing portraits based on these images.
But it didn’t end there. In the artist’s mind, he could see yet another step where his portraits would be reduced to pixels again, and feed back into the same computers that had created the first image and using an entirely new algorithm produce another series of endless new faces.
The Spy caught up with Stephen via Zoom last week to hear more about his Portraits of People That Don’t Exist project.