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?UESTIONS: Nettrice Gaskins

Archiving Culture ~ Interviews

Powerfully vibrant with a soulful touch - Artist, Author and Educator Nettrice Gaskins

Powerfully strong, can you share a snippet of your practice and how you create?

Prior to text-to-image AI tools such as Midjourney I was using image style transfer, an optimization technique used to take two images—a content image and a style reference image (such as an artwork by a famous painter)—and blend them together so the output image looks like the content image, but “painted” in the style of the style reference image. Right now I'm combining image style transfer and the newer AI tools to make images.

Where do you find inspiration?

Everywhere... literally! It is not my goal to copy the work of other artists but to look beyond what has been done before and create something new. Complimentary colors inspire me. Nature inspires me. People, too. Inspiration occurs spontaneously, without intention. I enjoy the process of entering text or uploading and even blending two or more images to create something entirely different from where I started. It's a journey but it's also about experimentation and mutual learning.

Blackness is beautifully represented, especially Black females, how and why is this important to you?

The perception people have about their past or future selves relates to their perception of their current selves. When I first started using AI to make art I seldom saw Black people or women in others' images, in ways that did not perpetuate stereotypes. I felt compelled to fill in the gap using images of Black people who were represented and shown differently. For example, when lighting a person with dark complexion, the answer is understanding how light reflects off of the skin. I was interested in seeing if I could create this effect using AI.

If you could bottle up a message to share with the world, what would it be? Be true to yourself and to what feeds your spirit. Don't get locked up in someone else's style; it'll change later. This last part is from a song I loved as a kid titled "Nobody Can Be You (But You)" by Steve Arrington.

All images by and courtesy of Nettrice Gaskins

Instagram: @Nettrice Gaskins

Facebook: Nettrice Gaskins


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