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When Jenni Pasanen started exploring AI, she realized she had found her calling.
The Finnish artist learned about Generative Adversarial Networks (GAN) and AI art in the fall of 2020, not long after discovering NFTs.
A friend introduced her to the concept of blockchain, and she was immediately enthusiastic. "I thought that this was an amazing technology,” she told Decrypt. "From this day, I fell in love with all the people in this space and the whole community."
The endless possibilities it offered immediately fascinated Pasanen, and she began to use AI as an extension of her creativity.
"AI generates these shapes that stimulate my imagination," she told Decrypt. "I use it as my inspiration, like a muse. In the abstract images it creates, I can see a horse, a leg, a person."
From there, she manipulates the image to create a digital painting, occasionally blending it with multiple different techniques, like 3D or photography.
“From something that does not resemble anything, I sculpt an artwork that corresponds to what I saw in the AI-generated image,” she said.
Dreams and nightmares
Pasanen says her artistic universe is inspired by everything around her, from small sticks and tiny ants to a word someone has said, populated by fantastical hybrid creatures made of flower petals, feathers, or smoke.
“The outcome depends on my mood,” she said. “If I'm happy, it will be a joyful artwork; if I’m sad, it will be really dark. You can see me from there."
Since her childhood, art has always been her language. "It's how I express myself for 30 years because as a child, I struggled with speaking, writing, or expressing myself in any other way,” she told Decrypt. “I channel everything inside me into my art.”
When she creates, Pasanen primarily uses Photoshop and the AI software Artbreeder as her tools of choice, recently adding Stable Diffusion to the mix.
"The moment I discovered Artbreeder, I fell in love with it," she says. "I'm still using it to this day even though it's one of the oldest programs to create with AI."
She relishes the element of surprise that comes with using tools she cannot fully control, including Stable Diffusion and Artbreeder and the contrast between their approaches. Whenever new AI tools are released, she is eager to experiment with them and incorporate them into her work.
“I usually describe my style as a layered cake,” she explained. “I just stack one layer on top of another. Nowadays I zigzag, I paint and then throw image in Stable Diffusion, take something from Artbreeder, the add them together and paint, draw, and move in Photoshop."
Her artistic endeavors have encompassed a wide range of mediums, from acrylic painting and clay sculpting to sewing and animation—she has even learned coding and 3D.
However, out of all the mediums she explored, digital painting was the one she consistently gravitated towards.
NFTs as a gateway to becoming a full-time artist
After studying graphic design in school, Jenni transitioned into a career in design and animation, working on branding and marketing. Over 13 years, she honed her skills in design and animation.
Despite her professional commitments, she consistently found time to create art. Ultimately, her enduring passion for art fueled her dream of becoming a full-time artist thanks in part to the rise of.
“In the traditional art world, it’s more challenging to find your place,” she told Decrypt. She recalled her past attempts to join traditional art institutions, but her lack of formal art education or certification barred her from applying.
However, the advent of NFTs marked a turning point.
“When NFTs arrived, I saw it as the moment for digital artists to truly shine,” she said. “I decided that whatever happens, I will leave the career I have been building for 13 years to be a full-time digital artist, even if I had to live under a bridge.”
Jenni Pasanen's journey is still in its early stages, but she's already emerging as one of the most promising artists in this new era of digital painting propelled by NFTs.
Her artwork, such as “Golden Ratio” which sold on SuperRare for a significant 4 ETH, reflects her rising prominence in the field.
She recently revealed a series of new artworks on Makersplace, “Mask Obscura.”
And on July 5, she dropped a new artwork, “Dust—BLOOM editions” on Manifold.
It represents a woman’s face surrounded by hands and hazy shapes. Her eyes are closed, as she was dreaming about Pasanen’s next artwork.
As for what’s next, well, it likely depends on the content of Pasenen’s next dream—or nightmare.