AI opens doors for NFT artist Ellie Pritts at Bitforms gallery in NYC

Collaboration between artificial intelligence and analog technology takes center stage in the captivating animations created by renowned Los Angeles-based NFT artist, Ellie Pritts.

AI opens doors for NFT artist Ellie Pritts at Bitforms gallery in NYC

Los Angeles-based NFT artist Ellie Pritts is currently celebrating her inaugural solo exhibition, "In the Screen I am Everything," in New York City. This remarkable showcase marks Pritts' first collaboration with the pioneering net art gallery, Bitforms.

The exhibition features a collection of eight stunning animations that are available as NFTs on the Ethereum blockchain. Alongside these digital artworks, a selection of physical prints is also on display. Pritts employed a meticulous and intricate process to create the three series showcased in the exhibition, unifying them across different media.

Pritts made a breakthrough in the NFT scene in 2021 when she decided to mint a few of her existing video artworks, which unexpectedly gained significant attention and recognition.

"I had a collection of video art," Pritts explained in an interview with Cointelegraph. "I had shared it on platforms like Instagram and other projects, but I never imagined it could be monetized."

While her video practice had primarily served as a therapeutic outlet, the rise of blockchain technology and NFTs suddenly made her work valuable enough to finance the acquisition of new tools. With these enhanced resources, Pritts delved into creating more sophisticated and captivating video artworks.

In addition to her NFT journey, Pritts had a background in concert photography and had pursued a career as a professional cellist. However, in 2021, she confronted unforeseen medical issues that affected her ability to play the cello, such as a newfound inability to hold her bow. Pritts also faced a neurological condition that posed significant challenges to her artistic pursuits.

"After undergoing extensive medical testing, I received a devastating diagnosis," Pritts recalled. "The doctors had no answers or solace to offer. They informed me that I was losing these abilities, they wouldn't return, and the extent of the deterioration was uncertain. It was disheartening."

Despite these obstacles, Pritts made a New Year's resolution in early 2021 to embark on painting portraits, even though she could no longer use a pencil to sketch preliminary drawings.

The profound journey of resilience and artistic transformation that Ellie Pritts embarked upon highlights her unwavering determination to adapt to her circumstances and continue creating impactful and meaningful artwork.

Introducing Artificial Intelligence: A Fascinating Journey

Pritts embarked on an exploration of artificial intelligence (AI) after receiving her diagnosis, leading to a remarkable showcase at Bitforms. The exhibition opens with the mesmerizing animation titled "Relative Minor" (2023), prominently displayed in the vibrant tangerine alcove of the entryway.

In "Relative Minor," a captivating feminine face, generated by Stable Diffusion, takes center stage in an infinite zoom, continuously morphing through a spectrum of colors, expressions, and angles. Pritts combined her own glitch art background, crafted using vintage, circuit-bent hardware sourced from a revived community of artisans.

This tantalizing piece serves as a preview of the exhibition's climactic moments. The central visage in "Relative Minor" emerges from AI's interpretation of text prompts derived from Pritts' dream journals. With hundreds of pages documenting her personal history on Google Docs and physical diaries tracing back to the age of nine, Pritts found dream material to be a compelling source for creative prompts. She explained, "I can uncover recurring themes and patterns from my own subconscious."

One prevailing theme in the exhibition is the divine feminine, which served as a driving force behind most of Pritts' artistic endeavors. To challenge the algorithm's conventional notions of beauty, she intentionally guided AI biases to achieve archetypal faces that deviated from stereotypical ideals.

To add further depth to the animation, Pritts subjected it to video hardware from the 1990s, skillfully resoldered to produce intriguingly warped outputs. She described glitching as the essence of this process. Despite these efforts, Pritts felt that the artwork was not yet complete. To address this, she created the background using a modular video synthesizer, a device similar to a modular audio synthesizer but designed for video output. In total, Pritts has crafted around 20 such animations, with this exhibition showcasing a collection of seven captivating pieces.

The fusion of artificial intelligence, glitch art, and vintage video hardware in Pritts' creations at Bitforms presents a captivating and thought-provoking journey into the realm of AI-generated art.

Glitching Flowers: A Captivating Series

Step into the mesmerizing world of Pritts' "Fleur Glitch" series, where viewers are greeted by a pulsating garden of flowers that bloom and wither, captured in stunning detail on film. These vibrant moments of botanical brilliance are preserved in polychromatic giclée prints, exuding a frozen shine that captivates the senses.

Pritts employed techniques inspired by her recursive dreamscapes to manipulate footage of cut flowers, blending her own recordings with selections from stock websites. Rather than overlaying the floral animations onto her synthesized glitch graphics, the artist ingeniously incorporated digital abstractions within the evolving forms of the flowers themselves. With every passing second, these blossoms become captivating portals, leading us into mesmerizing digital voids.

Pritts remarked, "It's a fascinating juxtaposition between nature's beauty and the textural allure of something entirely manmade and computerized." Recognizing the significance of certain frames from the animations, Bitforms founder Steven Sacks suggested isolating and presenting them as standalone pieces. These carefully chosen frames now adorn the lemon-hued walls, enveloping a mural that Pritts personally installed. Composed of stills extracted from the "Fleur Glitch" series, these prints resemble silkscreens, evoking the spirit of iconic artist Andy Warhol and drawing profound parallels between his iconic superstars and Pritts' captivating floral compositions.

The "Fleur Glitch" series by Ellie Pritts immerses viewers in a world where the delicate beauty of flowers collides with the mesmerizing allure of digital abstraction. This captivating fusion invites contemplation on the interplay between nature and technology while paying homage to the artistic legacy of visionaries like Andy Warhol.

Self-Exploration through the Power of AI

The final room of the exhibition unveils a captivating wonderland, featuring six framed screens illuminating Pritts' surreal scenes. These mesmerizing artworks come alive with dynamic movements, showcasing varied tempos and directions that dazzle the senses. Some pieces even feature fleeting cameos by Pritts herself, adding an intimate touch to the spectacle. However, the journey begins with a still homage in the form of two new prints from the acclaimed "Divine Recursion" series. Originally intended to be hand-painted, these prints made their debut at Bitforms' groundbreaking AI show in San Francisco during the fall of 2022.

Following her diagnosis, Pritts transformed her collection of preliminary sketches into a machine learning model that could depict her likeness. She used these sketches as visual prompts, combined with text prompts derived from her journal. This time, the text prompts originated from her waking life, where she often pondered the concept of confidence and self-assurance. The deeply personal results fascinated Pritts, who added final touches using the graphics editing software Procreate.

"These portraits possess an extra layer of recursion as they are based on AI paintings I created in the initial round," Pritts explained. "That was an earlier version of Stable Diffusion. We have now advanced three versions beyond that."

Initially drawn to painting for its tactile nature, Pritts has adapted her artistic practice due to her health circumstances and the evolving possibilities offered by external technologies. In a remarkable collaboration between her conscious and subconscious, Pritts explores uncharted territories empowered by AI's enigmatic ability to manifest visions we can only express through words.

"It's a truly magical process because you never know exactly how the prompt will influence the output," Pritts shared. "In one instance, a prompt included my desire to feel better about myself, to increase self-worth and exude confidence. I had no idea what that would yield. None of those words conjured a specific image in my mind." It was through AI that Pritts, for the first time, beheld a regal depiction of herself, embracing the realization of living as a queen.

Through the intersection of AI and self-exploration, Ellie Pritts' artistic journey unveils a profound and awe-inspiring exploration of identity, confidence, and the boundless possibilities of the human imagination.

The Perfect Moment: Embracing Boundless Potential

Among the exhibition's captivating artworks, the show's titular piece transcends the confines of a traditional frame, immersing viewers in an unforgettable experience through a projected display. This artwork portrays Pritts playfully positioned before a greenscreen in her studio. Afterward, she added a combination of AI and manual edits to enhance the visual narrative. To infuse the piece with warmth and texture, Pritts further processed the amended video through her circuit-bent hardware. In many ways, this artwork represents Pritts' future, embodying her artistic evolution and the limitless possibilities that lie ahead.

Despite facing physical challenges, Pritts acknowledges that she is currently in a unique moment in time. She emphasizes that rather than doors closing, she feels a sense of doors opening, expanding her horizons and propelling her artistic journey forward.

The blockchain has played a crucial role in Pritts' artistic trajectory, facilitating new recognition, wider audiences, and sustainable income streams. On-chain transactions continue to uphold the integrity of her work as she explores new realms of AI. This technology not only supports her creative pursuits but also enables her to manifest a regal version of herself that once seemed unattainable.

Pritts reflects on the transformative power of her evolving outlook, noting the profound impact it has on her projects, even at a psychological level. Instead of approaching endeavors with doubts and questions about how to accomplish them, she now embraces the belief that she is capable of anything. This newfound perspective has unlocked a sense of empowerment that she had never experienced before.

The perfect moment in Ellie Pritts' artistic journey represents a convergence of resilience, technological innovation, and boundless potential. Through blockchain and AI, she continues to push artistic boundaries, seizing opportunities that empower her to manifest her truest and most regal self.



Jul 19, 2023

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