Portraits from Deep Dream Algorithms

Nettrice Gaskins is an African-American artist whose work explores “techno-vernacular creativity” and Afrofuturism. As that suggests, her medium for creating the images in her recent series of portraits is unique: Deep Dream, the neural network AI.

“I used Deep Dream Generator’s algorithm, which is inspired by the human brain,” she tells me. “The generator uses the stylistic elements of one image to draw the content of another. The first picture defines the portrait I want to create and the second picture I upload gives the program a style to simulate. The process may include more than one pass in the generator, using different style images, until I get the image I want.” This portrait of Sade, for instance, “[Is] a composite of multiple Deep Dream images.”

“I started messing with AI via Deep Dream to better understand it and to teach students about how algorithms can be used to make art,” she tells me. “Being more aware and choosing more creative, humanistic methods with AI is definitely a goal of mine.”

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