ClownVamp Imagines a Cannon of Overtly Queer Impressionist Painting

The digital artist, whose recent exhibition, “Chester Charles: the Lost Grand Master,” was created with A.I., uses the oeuvre of fictional impressionist painter Chester Charles to explore how social constructs warp art history.

'Two Sailors' by ClownVamp.

Bio: ClownVamp, New York City

Title of work: Two Sailors 

Where to see it: it was on display earlier this week at Canvas3 at the Oculus and is now online at SuperRare

Three words to describe this work: Joyful, Loud, Green!

What was on your mind at the time: This work is part of an AI-assisted series that tells the story of a fictitious queer artist from the 1800s through an imagined retrospective. Here I’m trying to conceive scenes of gay joy he may have witnessed, even if briefly. The feeling you have at a nightclub, that sheer joy, what could it have looked like on an alternative timeline?

An interesting feature that’s not immediately noticeable: The work is incredibly high resolution. Using open source models, I was able to create realistic textures of paint and canvas, further blurring the line between truth and fiction.

How the work reflects your practice as a whole: My goal is to make people question their reality, their narratives. The stories we are told and the stories we tell ourselves. This work shows a scene that was unlikely to have been recorded at the time, less likely to have been shown, and zero chance of being widely celebrated. However, they are emotions and feelings that are real and have always been real.  The reason we haven’t seen them is due to self-censorship and explicit censorship. What would art history have looked like without these forces?

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