AI and Art

How were we born at a time when we actually need to consider AI as a threat to our livelihoods, experiences, politics, sanity, safety, cultures…  our whole world? But here we are. 

People keep asking whether AI can create art. Can it write poetry? Can it be funny? Is it better than us at all these things and if not yet perhaps very soon? Can it truly make something that is so fundamentally human? Can it create something that is all about what it is to be human?

I doubt it. I think it can fabricate it. I think it can construct things that we respond to. It can fool us. It can make collages that tap into vast amounts of data. We have created eons of data for it to learn from and ceaselessly mine and then regurgitate. Yet wouldn’t this always be an imitation of us? 

It may be able to hack us in a way that gets us to want more of it. It may make us feel, laugh and think. But I have a suspicion, if we know the origin, it won’t be quite as satisfying as something created by a human being.  Like fast food or factory made furniture, it will lack something. It may be functional and even aesthetically pleasing, but it has lost something.

Art is often in the eye of the beholder. Yet perhaps that is not the full story. Maybe that is only half of the conversation. 

Who is telling the story? I think it matters to us. It matters that it has been processed through the brain and body of a human. It matters that this person has tried to — no matter how clumsily — communicate something. This person has lived and seen and experienced what we have.  It matters on this very basic, very raw level. The story matters. We care about the experience of being human. Just knowing that a human has been moved to make something makes this art in all its forms more interesting. Even if we don’t know what it is. We know there is something behind it and we can tap into that.

We will have to find a way to live in this new world. We will need to keep things in perspective, somehow.

AI could be used by people as an effective tool to create new art. Hopefully it will be something that we can use to enhance what and how we communicate. The danger is that we don’t know the difference anymore and that we lose the meaning in everything because we lose trust in it. I feel like Hopefully it will not strip us of our humanity. Hopefully we will remember that it is a tool and not the creator. That it is there to be used to help us and not replace us.

I hope so.  

And if it does become sentient — then I hope to learn what it is like to be another being through its art. 

I hope we will be able to tell the difference.

Something old, something new

It has been many years since I have had my paintings available for sale. I have mostly been working on commission pieces for the past five years. 

It is so interesting to look at my older works. To bring them out of storage and see them again. They are very different in some ways from my more recent works. They are tentative steps that seem to describe where I was then and the direction in which I wanted to go. They describe how I was feeling at the time. But they also seem to echo, or perhaps, foreshadow- the mindset I would later experienced during the pandemic years. It is an interesting experience to see this. Like they have given me a roadmap to loosely follow out of this stuck mode I have found myself in. Something from my past has given me a key to something new.

I want to set these paintings free. They have traveled over continents and seas and were packed away in the dark for so many years. So I have decided to put them on an online gallery and shine some light on them. 

And now a door has opened and I can keep moving and growing and adding to the world.

I will be adding more paintings to my portfolio next week. Here are the three that are available now:

Smallavailable here
‘That’s how the light gets in’ available here
‘Folds’ available here




Since moving from South Africa to the Netherlands, I have felt a strong need to express what it feels like when major changes happen. Every time I try to grasp at it it eludes me. Memories and thoughts and identity seem to be vague and are like vapour.  Especially when you find yourself in a strange uncanny valley of experience. Reality seems suspended. The mind keeps trying to make analogies and patterns based on what it has experienced before. And that is starting to feel like a useless exercise. Still that is what the mind does.

This new reality is paralel and doesn’t quite fit the mold. Like a bad print. And yet the mind is making stories and analogies and trying to make sense of everything like you are stuck in a dream. Somewhat out of focus. Discordant, clashing worlds. There seems to be a constant very faint current of misunderstanding. Just unease. And, I suppose, that is what change feels like.

What emerges from the cacophony is something new. The echoes inform a new system, a new pattern, new memories, thoughts, identities.


The painting I have just finished was one that took me through a journey of contradictions. Happiness and sadness. There is a strange bond that one develops with the subject of a portrait. Even if you have never met the person. Even if they are not here anymore. It all becomes a story. Their story.

These people and characters become so real. I want to show them with life.


This is Mitzi.



Mistakes are Life








Underlying mistakes

We need mistake inducing situations and materials for things to change and evolve and be interesting. That is the only way to be creative. Change is inevitable. 

Perfection is entropy.

Mistakes are what make things cluster they are what makes patterns form.

Tiny, tiny, tiny changes in movement and tiny incremental mistakes. And things are revealed. Something changed direction. 

Maybe I didn’t notice until you hooked onto it and made it grow beyond itself. The Origen hidden.the origin is lost. 

This is the only way to step outside the frame and bleed into the other possibilities.

The echoes matter. But only if there is interference at some point. Then something new can grow. Careful of sanitising too much. Some  dirt has to remain for new life to grab onto. 

The stumble might be the catalyst for the dance to change. 

We keep looking for what makes sense. For what is flawless. We need to find the flaws to understand the origins. If that is what we seek.

Life is mistakes that work.

Friction implies some kind of resistance. But that is what vibrates the strings. That is what makes marks. That is how we can sense. 

We are here because something is out of balance. Somewhere there is a mistake and thus the universe has not neutralised itself. Maybe it is just a moment. Maybe a fluctuation that has sent things teetering for the moment like a coin spinning on a table after being tossed. 

But here we are. 

Trying to categorise to simplify and all that happens is things become more complex the more we do this. At some point we will have to categorise at such a fine resolution that it will be so simple and everything will be accounted for and that is chaos. entropy. Drawing lines is what we do. But it is a haphazard process

All that is of consequence is where the focus is. But we might need to keep the borders perforated so that it is not a closed system. Closed systems die.


I wear your dress sometimes

I wear your dress sometimes

It always seems like things are slipping away. Yet we are left with impressions that – through the years- keep being retraced and overwritten. Sometimes they are carved so deeply and other times it seems like things have been scribbled over so many times that I can’t make out anything at all.

I have tried to find some connection with this new piece. A connection to my grandmother and great-grandmother. I was very close to them and since they are gone now I feel like I am trying to grasp something. It is difficult to let go.

The title of this piece was taken from a line in the song ‘I wear your dress’ by the incredible Anaïs Mitchell. I kept some of my great-gran’s and granny’s dresses. Some part of me feels like I can embody some part of who they were when I wear them. Yet it is so different. And the dresses take my form but the narrative is continued. For a while.

I have tried to observe my own nostalgia and my own memories. I have found that much of what I think I remember is from old photographs. Sometimes I wasn’t even there. I wasn’t there when my granny was sixteen yet I see the pictures and I recognize something so familiar. I think of the stories they told. The places I put myself in my imagination. There is no boundary. And yet all these things we try to hold onto just slip away like water running through fingers. They fade and change and rearrange in my mind and in the stories told. And the narrative continues.

I miss my grandparents.



My work is available at State of the Art Gallery

Figments of Memory

Figments of Memory

Patreon page

I have just started a Patreon page! And I thought I would share my first post with you. I am still trying to figure out how everything works but it can’t hurt to start spreading the news. Please feel free to go and take a look! I am very pleased with the new direction I am taking my work. I am  incorporating many of the styles I have already built on for many years. So: this is from my new post:

Figments of Memory


I have just started a new series of works and this is the first completed painting.   It is a mixed media piece that incorporated charcoal, acrylics and soft pastels. It is made on board. The piece has a very interesting texture which is something I would love to explore further in upcoming works.
This new painting is about the remnants that are left in our minds. People we vaguely remember. These moments are often heavily laden with emotion and certain details. Yet the rest is left partial or missing. `And often memories are completely fictitious.

That’s how the light gets in

That’s how the light gets in

Imperfection is fascinating. It is how we notice difference. It is what the mind picks up on. Our minds find imperfection interesting.
Everything is in flux. Our worlds change and decay. We cannot stop this and we cannot hide from it. We cannot be perfect. We can be present for it. This is the only refuge. Perfection can not be attained and it won’t bring calm to our agitated minds. We can only move with the changing reality.
This piece was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s song Anthem: “There is a crack in everything. That’s how the light gets in.”

We can try to find shelter in our own inner shadow. Sometimes this is comforting for a short while, although it can keep us from facing the brightness outside our own illusions. We can’t keep the light out.

Observing Existence

Observation is inherently existential. It is communication about our experience of our existence. I find it impossible to separate the two no matter how mundane an object I choose to paint. The human form is not mundane – especially not to humans- yet it is ordinary. It is something we all possess. And everything about this fact is interesting. This is existing and this is experiencing.


Lightheaded by Jodi Hugo