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AI Art: Digital Brushstrokes

I have always adored any art that could be considered brushstroke art- that is, the brushstroke is the art. See: James Nares, Yago Hortal. One could argue that the abstract expressionists were the originators of this style, but the artist that truly paved the way for this aesthetic was Roy Lichtenstein. His brushstroke was more of a statement on the abstract art that preceded it. But it’s also beautiful enough and decisive enough to cement the pure aesthetic pleasure of isolating a brushstroke. It is also a welcome departure from the egoic nature of the abstract expressionists – “Look at me, I’m painting. I’m an action painter,” and then they all go get drunk at the Cedar Tavern. Lichtenstein’s take is more thoughtful and distilled.

Roy Lichtenstein Brushstroke
Brushstroke, Roy Lichtenstein. 1965.

I love working with isolated brushstrokes. It’s an energizing practice, an exercise, or a way of sparking a digital collage. A very fun thing to me was to see what kind of brushstroke art the AI art apps could generate. As with all AI Art creation (production?) there is a dizzying array of possibilities. At first I was drawn to the repetition, and the collecting of them.

Soon the process began to feel nauseating, like hitting up a slot machine, or eating too many potato chips. Every 5th or 6th generated brushstroke is interesting or beautiful enough to create that dopamine hit, but the rest start to pile up like unwanted trash. So I started another process – collecting the AI brushstrokes and combining them into collages. At first it was a mess. This one is all ll the brushstrokes thrown together to see what would stick:


Once I started to refine the process and I liked what I was seeing. I could see using these two as wall art:

Then I went down another AI art digital brushstroke rabbit hole and used the brushstroke images to create different objects. These butterflies were made using the brushstroke images as the seed picture in the Wombo Dream app. They were edited and combined with the Procreate app:

That’s all for now. I have many, many more brushstrokes in the AI Art trash pile, which keeps getting bigger and bigger. Eventually I am going to have to find a way to organize all of these throwaway images. Or I could just, you know, throw them away. I think ultimately that is going to be one of the downfalls of AI art – it is so easy to produce that it is going to create tons and tons of “digital debris.”