Skip to content

Why Fire and Nakedness?

In NAKED FLAMES at The Path To The Present exhibition some have been curious as to why I created it.

When I create art I often pick subjects and images without thinking deeply about my choices. This is where creating AI art gets interesting. The process of creating AI art with a GAN algorithm is a series of choices.

First there is the choice of what images to create with. What are the subjects? There can only be two or three otherwise the model just becomes pure abstraction. Second there is the choice of curating 2,000 images to train with. Which images might make the model output interesting or predict something new. Third choice is when to stop training. Sampling the model every hour helps me choose when to. stop. And fourthly, what images do I pick from the outputs? And then fifth, what title did I pick for each one.

But all of these choices often show something about myself I cannot articulate or feel.

In this series NAKED FLAMES I picked images of fire and images of nude paintings.

Why Fire?

There are many reasons but perhaps the deepest strongest feeling is the title of this one, ANXIETY OF HELL, which I apparently still struggle with. It comes from the fear of hell instilled from birth. The preacher asks every Sunday and Wednesday, “Did you really believe in Jesus? Are you sure you are not going to hell to burn forever? And what about your friends? You must tell them about Jesus so they can choose to not burn forever.” Nearly everyday at school the curriculum questions my soul and my responsibility to tell the world that Jesus loves them but they are going to hell.

The Christian comic books repeat the judgement day to show the sin of your life on a screen in front of the all the saints. The love of Jesus does not seem to cover eternal embarrassment before you get sent to heaven or to the flames.

Then one day I left that belief behind and that night had an intense dream about burning in hell. I thought it was out of my system but my art exposes me yet again.

Anxiety Of Hell a human form that is fire with what looks like a question mark above their head
Naked Flames: Anxiety Of Hell
Naked Flames: Sins Of Flesh

Why Nudes?

Actually this choice comes from the same core. That religious education again. The sin of nakedness.

The stories of Adam and Eve, unwitting of their nakedness because they had no knowledge of good and evil? Still not sure how that holds up. Noah making too much wine and being naked in front of his family of the only seven left on earth. A double sin, drunk and naked.

But what is more pure human than the nude form? And what would people look like in the burning flame of hell?