Ames


Does Research
︎Art
& Design
& Dev

︎About



Ames


Research
︎Art
︎Design
︎Dev

︎About


RISD
︎Digital Arts





Digital Artist
I’m an artist-designer-dev at RISD. As an artist, I make my own pixels and use them to create digital and generative art. As a developer, I make indie games. My digital painting process uses both manual and generative (code-driven) design processes. Over a lifetime as an artist, my paintings, pixels, and associated metadata add up to a cohesive world. Read more...


Process
Fall 2022

Phygital Paintings




In progress
I wanted to recreate the felt relationship with painting materials of a physical painting process... but in a fully digital process.

Digital painting is more efficient than physical painting but lacks visceral intimacy. I'm a professional designer who uses digital tools all day, and also a longtime self-taught painter who loves using physical tools. The strokes in a physical painting process contain a lot of experiential information. Just looking at a paint stroke reminds me of the feeling of its texture and the memory of placing it. Physical painting unfolds slowly, like a relationship. In contrast, digital painting feels more like an assembly line of actions, clicks, layers, adjustments, scripts, and filters. There is little relationship with each individual stroke and all the steps are easy to forget.

Original portrait files are large in size and very high resolution (over 100MB). Those on this site are closer to 10MB.



Interactive pieces (originals are video files)


Non-interactive pieces (originals are very large)



Process
Fall 2022

Bixels




Creating the components for the Phygital Paintings 
I roll my own pixels. Each one has a name, story, its own metadata, and is mapped to a real texture you can touch. I digitally sign each pixel before using it to digitally paint paintings.

What's with all the makeup? I get this question a lot. Makeup is a fascinating material, a juxtaposition, at once mundane and controversial. It’s sold in supermarkets and used regularly by 60-80% of women worldwide, making it by far the most popular kind of paint. And yet, it is also the most controversial type of paint, and has been banned at various times in history, most notably by Queen Victoria. An archeologist would find that the makeup of a given era reveals a lot about a civilization's technology as well as its concerns such as sun protection, beauty, health, social and courtship rituals, class hierarchies, and sometimes even religious or battle practices. As someone who has worked in fashion, technology, art, and product design for years, I like to combine these interests in my art, and am drawn to the social and expressive complexity of makeup and what it says about society.

So in my latest work, I’ve been digitally archiving makeup, turning it into pixels, and painting with it. I chose to focus on it for a few reasons. It is: 1) a socially- and emotionally-loaded material, 2) designed to deteriorate, and therefore the only way to make it archival is to digitize it,  and 3) an underdog history in the fine arts, despite being more popular and richer in technical and social meaning than other types of paint.


Examples



Process
Summer 2022

AI + Art




Experiments
Messing with AI tools
Weird nature digital paintings, printed.



Examples



Process
Spring 2022

Gradient Days




Gradients, skies, and emotions
Exploring emotions via gradients, layers, and skies
In this project, I combined my interests in gradients, skies, ane emotions. There is an indie game called ‘I Love Hue’ that inspires me, my favorite time of day is sunset, and I’ve been learning about how paragliders learn to ‘read’ the sky to understand how to navigate it and maintain thermal lift to fly for longer periods of time. I like that as a metaphor for keeping your emotions uplifted.


Examples



Process
Spring 2022

Light Textiles




Light Textiles
Exploring using light to create textile patterns
In this project, I was trying to create a perception of woven light and a meditative feeling. The original files for this series are very high resulution GIFs set to a breath rhythm.


Examples





The GBs, Since 2021

The GBs




Historic dynamic portraits project 
This project is loaded with meaning that requires effort to discover. The GBs collection tells a story that is hidden in the details and references to other art and philosophical works from the past. The story of The GBs unfolds over time and is about art enabling catharsis.

Technical achievement. The GBs are technically novel. They are the first portraits that.
  1. Visually evolve over time. That is, the portraits themselves change. Holders must request these changes, and The GBs vary in their response.
  2. Are encoded with ‘personality’ that influences their behavior.
  3. Can send messages to other portraits in the collection (via an on-chain mechanism called Glitter). 

Advanced technology is only a small part of The GB's story. These portraits are designed to open the door to something bigger, namely, an interactive community that supports members to express their many selves and process their personal ups and downs through regular creative practice, whether amateur or professional.

Collection as a metaphor for the paradox of multi-dimensional expression. Like us, GB portraits have many sides, and they wish to fully express them all. Like us, they visually change over time. Like us, they face an age-old paradox: How to discover and grow all of your identities (lover, child, parent, boss, sinner, saint...) when the system you live in forces you to conform to one ideal at a time? Like us, GBs have ups and downs; and are ultimately on a journey to find peace within. Finally, like us, the journey of any individual GB transcends her; she becomes part of something bigger at the end of her life cycle.


Collection as a community. The only way to really understand what this collection is about is to participate in our community and strengthen your creative voice with supportive others.


Examples




Various, Since 2012

Physical Works




Acrylic on Canvas
I wanted to capture the magic of the old Magic Eye posters, but with paint, canvas, and portraiture. My physical paintings have a specific style - I like inviting people to explore hidden faces and figures in what initially feels like an abstract, highly textured painting. Examples:

Rosalind, , Acrylic on Canvas, 2016, 24” x 36”, sold
Franklin, a British biophysicist, made critical contributions to our understanding of, among other things, DNA and RNA. Despite widespread belief that she deserved to be nominated for the Nobel prize along with Frances Crick, James Watson and Maurice Wilkins, she was not. Some controversy surrounds her under-recognized contribution. She passed away four years before her colleagues were awarded the 1962 prize.

Autumn Face, Acrylic on Canvas, 2012, 24” x 36”, sold
When viewed in person at a normal distance, the face or figure is not visible. When viewed in-person from a distance, however, and with just the right squint of your eyes, the face or figure becomes obvious. On the web, the image gets flattened, which makes it easier to see the hidden face or figure. This one is a hidden face.

Douglas, , Acrylic on Canvas, 2016, 24” x 36”, sold
I've been painting under-sung heroes: this is inspired by Douglas Prasher who should have been included in 2008 Nobel prize in chemistry, then drove a shuttle bus for years, now is back in science.


Examples




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