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Vancouver art show is for dogs, by a dog – Vancouver Sun

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The process of looking at art through her dog’s eyes gave Vancouver artist Jean Huang the idea to create an installation unlike any she’d created before. One made by her dog, for other dogs.

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Pet-A-Palooza

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When: Aug. 28, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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Where: 1100 Mainland St., Vancouver

Tickets and info: Free, petapaloozawest.com 

When Jean Huang set out to find a dog last year, she never expected to end up with a pup quite like Ou Zai

The Vancouver-based visual artist, who shares the heeler-mix with her partner PJ Bell, found Ou Zai through a “rehoming situation” in Surrey. The good-natured, tricolour dog whose name is pronounced ‘N-ow J-eye’ — Cantonese for ‘little cowboy,’ — seemed like a perfect fit for their active family. 

“We really wanted a dog that would be very adventurous and go on hikes with us, and he fit that description,” Huang recalls.

Little did she know, the new furry family member would end up playing an important role in her career as an artist, as well.

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While working on a project for art school that focused on artifacts and their presentation in museums, Huang turned her gaze to Ou Zai and his process of searching for and selecting sticks while exploring their Vancouver neighbourhood as a source of artistic inspiration.

“I decided to think about Ou Zai and how he would view artifacts and then also try to imagine, if he was a curator or an artist, what would he deem as worthy artifacts in an art museum,” she says. 

Jean Huang is pictured with her dog Ou Zai.
Jean Huang is pictured with her dog Ou Zai. Jean Huang

The process of looking at art through her dog’s eyes gave her the idea to create an installation unlike any she’d created before. One made by her dog, for other dogs.

“When I first started this project with him, we were just looking at the sticks that he was finding,” Huang says. “I thought this would be an obvious artifact that dogs would display in an art show because they’re so important to dogs. And while I was watching him collect the sticks, I realized that he thought through every stage. Whether it had its own unique shape or had a cool texture, or different marking on it.

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“In a way, seeing things from Ou Zai’s perspective has taught me to give more space to my surroundings to contribute to the art rather than just focusing on my perspective.”

The young dog also seemed to take an interest in Huang’s art creation process.

“Whenever I was creating art, he was almost like a studio mate,” she says. “He’d be near me and he’d always be observing. Or sometimes he would mimic whatever I was doing. Like, if I was ripping up canvas, he would also be there and try to chew on the canvas with me.”

A new art exhibit features abstract art created by Ou Zai, a dog.
A new art exhibit features abstract art created by Ou Zai, a dog. Jean Huang

Ou Zai’s seemingly inspired art interactions prompted Huang to search out other forms of abstract creations among his everyday encounters. 

“From the sticks, it kind of evolved to found objects,” Huang says. “When he was around four months old, he had this phase of collecting abandoned beach toys, and he was really interested in toy shovels. He brought home probably at least 10 toy shovels over time.”

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As most puppies do, he enjoyed chewing the discovered items. But Huang felt there was something special in the way he would chew, chew and then leave a particular piece. The process, she felt, mirrored her own when creating a piece of art. 

“He had a process of chewing them and then he would stop and be like, OK, this is as far as I’m going to go with it,” she says. “And I know it’s probably just for fun for him, but viewing it, I was like, oh, that’s the start of the process.”

Huang further forayed into Ou Zai’s “creation” process by looking at his destroyed toys. A chewed up ball or a terribly torn up puppy bed become less like pieces to pitch in the garbage and more elements of abstract art.

“Viewing all these artifacts that he’s created, it looks almost like things we would see in a contemporary art museum,” she says of the collected items, amassed over the past year. “It’s just funny seeing the process and viewing it as art, I guess.”

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Ou Zai’s work will be on display during the free event Pet-A-Palooza in Yaletown on Aug. 28. The event, which is a fundraiser for the Just Love Animals Society, features exhibits, races, dog yoga and more.

Featured in an open art space, the works will be on display at dog level, allowing the canines to appreciate the creations — while also encouraging their human companions to get down to their level in an effort to see things from their eyes.

“At the end of the day, the show is by him, so I wanted it to be for other dogs to view and to elevate the dog’s perspective by having it at the dog’s eye level,” Huang explains. “The world is centred around humans, and maybe if we stopped to think about different points of views from other species, hopefully we can try to create a world where it’s more about coexisting with other animals.”

Huang encourages visitors to allow their dogs to become a “guest curator” at the show, by offering up their own artifacts ranging from sticks and slobbery bones to ripped toys. She will also be offering unique dog caricatures to visitors.

While Ou Zai’s artworks will proudly be on display during the upcoming event, Huang paused at the idea of selling any of the creations. 

“Oh, gosh, I have never thought of that,” she says with a laugh. “I guess, if someone wanted to purchase it and display it in their home, we wouldn’t be opposed to that. Because it just seems so cool.”

Aharris@postmedia.com

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Is AI Art a 'Toy' or a 'Weapon'? – The Atlantic

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Earlier this year, the technology company OpenAI released a program called DALL-E 2, which uses artificial intelligence to transform text into visual art. People enter prompts (“plasticine nerd working on a 1980s computer”) and the software returns images that showcase humanlike vision and execution, veer into the bizarre, and might even tease creativity. The results were good enough for Cosmopolitan, which published the first-ever AI-generated magazine cover in June—an image of an astronaut swaggering over the surface of Mars—and they were good enough for the Colorado State Fair, which awarded an AI artwork first place in a fine-art competition.

OpenAI gave more and more people access to its program, and those who remained locked out turned to alternatives like Craiyon and Midjourney. Soon, AI artwork seemed to be everywhere, and people started to worry about its impacts. Trained on hundreds of millions of image-text pairs, these programs’ technical details are opaque to the general public—more black boxes in a tech ecosystem that’s full of them. Some worry they might threaten the livelihoods of artists, provide new and relatively easy ways to generate propaganda and deepfakes, and perpetuate biases.

Yet Jason Scott, an archivist at the Internet Archive, prolific explorer of AI art programs, and traditional artist himself, says he is “no more scared of this than I am of the fill tool”—a reference to the feature in computer paint programs that allows a user to flood a space with color or patterns. In a conversation at The Atlantic Festival with Adrienne LaFrance, The Atlantic’s executive editor, Scott discussed his quest to understand how these programs “see.” He called them “toys” and “parlor game[s],” and did a live demonstration of DALL-E 2, testing prompts such as “the moment the dinosaurs went extinct illustrated in Art Nouveau style” or “Chewbacca on the cover of The Atlantic magazine in the style of a Renaissance painting” (the latter of which resulted in images that looked more canine than Wookiee). Scott isn’t naive about the greater issues at play—“Everything has a potential to be used as a weapon”—but at least for a moment, he showed us that the tech need not be apocalyptic.

Their conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.

Watch: Atlantic executive editor Adrienne LaFrance in conversation with Jason Scott


Adrienne LaFrance: When we talk about AI art, what do we even mean? How does it work?

Jason Scott: So what we’re calling “AI art”—by the way, they’re now calling it “synthetic media”—it’s the idea of using analysis of deep ranges of images, not just looking at them as patterns or samples, but actually connecting their captions and their contexts up against pictures of all sorts, and then synthesizing new versions from all that.

LaFrance: So basically a giant database of images that can be drawn from to call to mind the thing that you prompt it to make.

Scott: Right.

LaFrance: And why is it exploding now? It seems like various forms of machine learning and AI have really accelerated in recent years.

Scott: They let it out of the lab and let regular people play with the toys. Across the companies that are doing this, some are taking the model of We’ll let everyone play with it now—it’s part of the world.

LaFrance: When you think about the implications for this sort of technology, give us an overview of how this is going to change the way we interact with art, or whatever other industries come to mind. For instance, at The Atlantic we have human artists making art. I’m sure they might have strong feelings about the idea of machines making art. What other industries would be potentially affected?

Scott: Machines are becoming more and more capable of doing analysis against images, text, music, movies. There are experimental search engines out there that you can play with and say things like “I need to see three people around a laptop.” And previously it would have to be three people in the laptop, but it actually is starting to make matches where there’s three people in the room. And the weirder and more creative you get with this toy, the more fun it gets. I see a future where you’ll be able to say, “Could I read a book from the 1930s where it’s got a happy ending and it takes place in Boston?” Or, “Can I have something where they fell in love but they’re not in love at the end?”

LaFrance: I have more questions, but I think now it’d be a good time to start showing people what we mean. Do you have some examples?

Scott: I have some examples of things that I did. So this is “detailed blueprints on how to build a beagle.”

LaFrance: So these are prompts that you gave the model, and this is what came out of it?

Scott: Yes. For the people who don’t know how this whole game works, it’s pretty weird. You usually type in some sort of a line to say, “I’m looking for something like this,” and then it creates that, and then people get more and more detailed, because they’re trying to push it. Think of it less as programming than saying to somebody, “Could you go out there and dance like you’re happy and your kid was just born?” And you’ll watch what happens. So it’s kind of amorphous. This is a lion using a laptop in the style of an old tapestry. This is Santa Claus riding a motorcycle in the style of 1970s Kodachrome. This is Godzilla at the signing of the Declaration of Independence. This is a crayon drawing of a labor action. These are bears doing podcasts. This is GoPro footage of the D-Day landing.

I’m always playing with it, and the reason you’re hearing all those strange prompts from me is because I want to understand: What are these systems seeing? What are they doing? It’s so easy as a parlor game to say, “Draw a cellphone as if it was done as a Greco-Roman statue.” But what about doing a bittersweet sky, or trying to draw a concerned highway? What does it see?

LaFrance: What does this suggest to you about the nature of art? This gets to be sort of an existential question, but is it still human-made art in the way that we think of it, and should we be bothered by that? I mean, we use all sorts of tools to make art.

Scott: Everyone is super entitled to their own opinion. All I can say is, I did drawings in a zine in my teens; I was a street caricaturist; my mother was a painter; my father does painting; my brother’s a landscape artist. And coming from that point of view, I am no more scared of this than I am of the fill tool or the clone brush [in Photoshop]. Everything has a potential to be used as a weapon—imagery, words, music, text. But we also see an opportunity here for people who never knew that they had access to art. I can almost hear the gears crack and start moving again when I go to somebody and I’m like, “Could you give me something to draw?” And they do it and they see how it goes. I can’t get angry at that particular toy. But I won’t pretend that this toy will stay in its own way neutral, or even is neutral now.

LaFrance: I was talking to a colleague about these sorts of tools the other week, and we were really compelled by the idea of being able to visualize dreams. What other sorts of things—fiction comes to mind—can we imagine but don’t normally get to visualize?

Scott: I love telling these AIs to draw “exquisite lattice work”—using phrases like exquisite or rare—or give me “leather with gold inlay on a toaster,” and watching it move into that world and design things in seconds that aren’t perfect, but are fun.

LaFrance: We’re going to experiment, which is always dangerous. You’re never supposed to do stuff in real time. But I have some prompts for you.

Scott: This is DALL-E. There are many others. Think of it just like early web servers or early web browsers. There’s a bunch of companies with various people funding them or doing things their own way.

[Scott now leads LaFrance through a demonstration of DALL-E 2: It’s included in the video embedded above.]

Scott: We see the ability to do everything from intricate pen-and-ink drawings to cartoons. People are using it now to make all sorts of textures for video games; they are making art along a theme that they need to cover an entire wall of a coffee shop; they’re using it to illustrate their works. People are trying all sorts of things with this technology and are excited by it.

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Tribune's Ruth Lloyd winner of 2022 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk grand prize draw – Williams Lake Tribune – Williams Lake Tribune

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The 2022 Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk grand prize draw winner was the Tribune’s own Ruth Lloyd.

Those who walked around to local businesses to view the art on display were able to get a stamp for their “passport” at each business, and after 15 stops were able to enter into the draw for prizes, and after 30 participants were elligible for two entries.

Lloyd managed to make it through the entire 30 artists on display in 30 businesses in the downtown core over the weeks of art walk, taking in a few at a time on her lunch breaks.

When called and told she was the winner of the grand prize draw for a $500 gift certificate for art with her favourite artist she asked, “How can I pick just one?”

Instead, she asked to split the $500 between two artists, and settled on Lesley Lloyd, a ceramics artist, and Maureen LeBourdais, textile artist.

She then posed for photos with each artist and someone from the business which hosted the artist during art walk, Tammy French of Lo’s Florist and Hope Tallen of Kit and Kaboodle.

Read more: Downtown Williams Lake Art Walk 2022 opens Aug. 12 and will feature 30 artists at 30 businesses



ruth.lloyd@wltribune.com

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Look Inside the $1 Billion Sale of Paul Allen’s Art Collection – BNN Bloomberg

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(Bloomberg) — The details of what could be the most expensive single-owner auction in history are starting to take shape.

On Wednesday evening, Christie’s announced highlights from the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen’s estate, whose roughly 150 artworks are anticipated to bring in more than $1 billion. Allen died in 2018.

Topping the list is a Cézanne landscape which carries an estimate “in excess of” $120 million. A Van Gogh landscape and a Seurat interior are both estimated at $100 million. Together, estimates for the top 10 paintings announced by the auction house total $765 million.

The sale, whose proceeds will go to charity, will possibly be the most extreme test of the art market ever, but it comes at a time of deep uncertainty in the the global financial markets. The quality and rarity of Allen’s artworks are unquestionable; the prices, however, are steep enough to give even billionaires pause.

The auction will take place in New York in two parts—an evening sale on November 9, and a morning sale on November 10. Check out some of the highlights and estimates (all of which are listed “in excess of”) below.

$120 Million for ​​La montagne Sainte-Victoire (1888-1890) by Paul Cézanne

$100 Million for Verger avec Cyprès (1888) by Vincent Van Gogh

$100 Million for Les Poseuses, Ensemble (Petite version) (1888) by Georges Seurat

$90 Million for Birch Forest (1903) by Gustav Klimt

$90 Million for Maternité II (1899) by Paul Gauguin

$75 Million for Large Interior, W11 (after Watteau) (1981-1983) by Lucian Freud

$60 Million for Waterloo Bridge, Soleil Voilé (1899-1903) by Claude Monet

$50 Million for Le Grand Canal à Venise (1874) by Edouard Manet

$50 Million for Small False Start (1960) by Jasper Johns

$28 Million for Concarneau, calme du matin (Opus no. 219, larghetto) (1891) by Paul Signac

$25 Million for Three Studies for Self-Portrait (1979) by Francis Bacon

©2022 Bloomberg L.P.

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