GREATEST: Luke Nugent’s AI Universe
In these nascent days of AI, peering over a precipice into the unknown, what does artistic collaboration with technology look like? And what will it mean for the future of art? Luke Nugent’s uncanny portraits may contain the answers.
To look at Luke Nugent’s images is to land in the heady depths of adolescent self-expression. Or maybe even to return there. From frame to frame, each character looking back at us asserts strong claims to subcultural belonging; the limitless potential of youth is shared among them, even if tribal affiliations are not. There are leather-clad punks with thirsty ’80s updos worthy of a Vivienne Westwood show, their porcelain faces punctuated by bold eyeliner and red lipstick. There are ’90s-inspired cargo pants worn beneath baggy jersey sweaters, enveloped by the synthetic sheen of oversized nylon windbreakers, or instead, by the ubiquitous padded puffer. Some are weighed down by gaudy jewelry, others are framed by structured shoulder pads, disguised behind sunglasses of all shapes and styles, or crowned in eccentric headwear.
Sometimes you need to be alone with your own ideas, with a tool that’s feeding back on them, independent of other people.
Growing up in London in the Myspace era, being around these young emo kids, drinking on the street […] It’s about evoking the sorts of people I would have hung around with when I was 17.
Working with AI has helped me unlearn some habits that had become a bit repetitive. I’m trying to loosen up, inspired by the slightly more abstract compositions you get with this stuff.