The central figure of this composition was inspired by a Stable Diffusion AI image generator. AI driven references were then rendered by hand as an oil portrait on canvas.
The evolution of this artwork will include digitizing the oil painting as an NFT animation, to be minted separately on the Ethereum blockchain. In doing so the art will complete a full cycle of transformations.
In the image, a young shirtless male is accompanied by a gang of grey aliens. His hair is a luxuriant bramble. His nudity seems to avail itself. But to whom?
The viewer? The greys? Is it a lure?
The young man’s classical pose serves as a nod to Western art history commonly found in Seekins’ oeuvre. However, the boy’s expression seems too comfortable given his company. He cradles one hand, hidden within the other, as if concealing something.
The figures contextual strangeness, given the “otherness” of its alien and AI influences, presents an uncanny valley.
The narrative of aliens within this painting was not a response to the slate of 2023 whistleblowers and congressional inquiries regarding UFO’s. Rather it seems more prescient and relates to a long line of alien symbolisms throughout the artist’s imagery going back prior to 1997. Thus, the boy with alien framework constitutes a kind of identity.
To Seekins, the greys represent an inimical influence from early childhood; a relationship so old they’ve become familiars.
Chat GPT-4 summarizes, “It stands as a poignant reminder of the familiar, yet perpetually enigmatic, presence of the ‘other’ in our collective consciousness. In this context, ‘The Familiars’ is not just a painting, but a conversation – a dialogue between the artist, the viewer, the familiar, and the alien.”