Ken Crost Digital/AI Fine Art
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I am a digital artist and writer and mostly kept these two artistic endeavors apart. It was difficult to see how I could work with both writing and digital art in a way that complemented each other. However, in June of 2022 I went to Chicago for a memorial for my sister-in-law, Joan, who died from ALS. The memorial was held at one of the Chicago forest preserves and, as it turned out, the day was mostly rainy. However, towards the end of the memorial, the clouds started to lift, the sun began to show itself, and I decided to walk out towards the woods. It was almost as if Joan was leading me in that direction. And that short walk out to the trees lead me to the inspiration of how I could combine my writing and digital art.
While walking around the trees, I began to see them in a way I had never seen them before. Instead of just a collection of trees, I saw a relationship between them and soon started photographing this relationship. The first trees that I focused on inspired me to create the artwork Queen Joan’s Trees. Soon it seemed as if there was a conversation going on between me and the trees. So, I continued to photograph these trees not knowing where it would lead. We were relating to each other in an interesting way, and I began to feel that a story was developing. That story would take a few weeks of gestation but eventually turned into the story of Noriiland. So, the story of Noriiland is my memorial to the wonderful person that Joan was. I hope that if she were still with us, she would approve of the Myth of Noriiland.
But that was just the beginning of the journey. In October of 2022, I was contacted by the wonderful poet Uzomah Ugwu, who was curating an art show, The Art of the Poem, at the Pocket Star Gallery in Athens, Greece. She wanted me to submit artwork to the show that would reflect the poem, “a child’s harmony.” I had never done anything like this before, but wanted to see if it was possible to achieve art that would work with the poem.
I had been experimenting with the new artificial intelligence art creation tools, so it seemed like the Art of the Poem was an excellent opportunity to test the abilities of this new method of creating art. At the time, I was using a website, Playform.io, and it was definitely up to the task of creating the art I wanted for the Art of the Poem show. I submitted three artworks to Uzomah and she replied confirming that the artwork would be in the show. That artwork can now be seen here.
I was now convinced that this new method of creating art was something that deserved additional exploration and in January of 2023, Uzomah contacted me again about doing another show, The Nature of Solitude, at the Pocket Star Gallery. This show would consist of her writing ten poems that I would then use to create the art for the show.
I decided that I wanted to explore other AI art creation systems and found a blog post on medium.com discussing five AI art websites that the author thought were particularly good. The first website mentioned was PlaygroundAI.com and I decided to try it. It didn’t take long for me to see that this site had the tools I could use to get the artwork completed for the show. It was way more than just AI art, but a piece of excellent software that I could use to manipulate the images until I got the look and feel I wanted. The artwork, of course, still needed additional work with other software tools. It took a few weeks to get the artwork completed and the show opened online on April 10th. Once that show closes on May 12th, I will add the art to my website.
I am very excited about the possibilities that AI art offers. I’m already contemplating two new artwork series for my website: La Pierre au Kansas, which is the art/story of a French computer chip manufacturer that opens a factory in the fictional western, Kansas town of Wisdom and builds two very tall high-rise building in the middle of nowhere Kansas; and, This Home is a House, the art/story of a family’s home in the fictional town of Braydon, Wisconsin.
I’m looking forward to many more art/story adventures. Come and join me on this adventure.