Artist Lets Us Get A Glimpse Of What These 29 Famous Historical And Popular Figures ‘Really’ Looked Like (New Pics) Interview With Artist
Bas Uterwijk is back on Bored Panda with more of his recreations (old post here)! Bas uses artificial intelligence to recreate paintings, statues, and many other things into a realistic portrait of what these historical figures could have looked like. Technology has come a long way, so if you've ever wondered what Mona Lisa, Van Gogh, or Shakespeare looked like in real life, this post is for you.
Bas has worked in CG animation and video games, but for about 14 years now, he's devoted himself to documentaries and photography. He has a lot of experience with this type of technology. So when he started to experiment with recreations and AI, he found a new hobby and way to use the skills he gained through all those years.
We got an interview with Bas and he told us about his work, himself, and many other things: "Although my career path has swayed in different directions, my focus has always been on playing with realism and illusion. Special effects, 3D animation, and video games all try to make fantasies plausible. Influenced by European comics, movies, and video games, I have experimented with most forms of visual storytelling."
"Working with classical art versus photography in neural networks for me feels like the next step in depicting ourselves. Just as photography changed the shape of classical painting, techniques based on artificial intelligence will start influencing and inspiring art and (post-)photography. AI applications are developing at an incredible speed and it will influence almost all segments of our society. I wouldn't be surprised if, in five or ten years, it will be possible to create moving, interactive three-dimensional characters with these techniques: super-realistic avatars that people are able to communicate within virtual surroundings."
"After working more than a decade in 3D animation, I was getting frustrated with the artificiality of it, so photography, for me, was a way to expand my horizons and investigation of what reality looks like: getting to know light and the way it behaves on materials, human faces, and how we perceive expressions in their smallest details."
Fayum Mummy Portrait
"Eventually, blood was thicker than water and I fell in love with generative adversarial networks. Recreating historical faces feels like being a detective in time. It blurs the line between realism and fantasy, between technique and creativity. That is an area I feel best."
"I started out with some of the most iconic faces, but I am planning to bring to life a much more diverse crowd of people that might not always be remembered on the covers of history books, but were important nonetheless."
"Some creations take a couple of hours, others weeks. Van Gogh is one of my favorites, but also one of the most frustrating characters to work on. I think I have spent the most work on Vincent and I feel I will never be finished with him. Because of the many self-portraits and their dissimilarities, I can go on forever in imagining him."
"Next to the historical recreations, I really love to work on completely made-up faces. For my audience, it sometimes is hard to see what they are looking at. Especially for people who are not familiar with the technical aspects of my work. That way, they don't know how much is made up. It could be a photograph of someone they have never seen before. I aim to make these faces interesting enough so they captivate and intrigue the viewer, like in any good classical portrait."
"At the moment, I am working on different ways to enhance the resolution of my images because I love to see them really big on the wall of a living room or a museum. Three of my best images are being sold through a gallery at the moment. After Bored Panda put up my work last summer, my portraits went pretty viral. I have a few projects and expositions coming up that resulted from the global attention I got last year."
"I get a lot of mail from people that want to know where to begin when they want to make similar portraits and I always tell them the easiest part is to just start working with apps like Artbreeder and other neural network-based utilities out there. There are already a couple of guys doing something very similar, quite successfully; some probably started at the same time as I did. My aim is to develop a personal signature which distinguishes me from the others. It's like in photography: Anyone can buy a great camera which takes razor-sharp images automatically, but how can you stand out from everyone else with the same equipment? I guess that is the hardest part: showing people who you are through any medium."