Every June around the world Pride Month is celebrated as a tribute to those who were involved in the Stonewall Riots back in 1969 and a reminder to keep pushing for visibility, safety and equality for all. We wanted to commemorate and champion individuals who have positively contributed to the LGBTQ+ movement and with this in mind we asked the creative folk here at Nexus Studios to create an artistic representation of a figure who they feel deserves celebrating. Check out our Pride in Profile campaign below…
Bonnie Forsyth profiles Frida Kahlo
Representing the Mighty Nice crew, Bonnie Forsyth has created this beautiful portrait of her personal queer hero Frida Kahlo.
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Bonnie
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Bethany Levy profiles Marsha P. Johnson
Our 2D Lead here at Nexus Studios captured the ferocity and tenacity of Marsha P. Johnson, American gay liberation activist.
“I’ve chosen Marsha P. Johnson because she was such a vibrant and positive influence during a time of great adversity. She was a central figure in the Stonewall uprising, a member of the Gay Liberation Front, one of the founders of S.T.A.R, an AIDS activist, and a perfect drag mother with a dazzling smile.” – Bethany Levy
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Jen Haugan profiles Sally Ride
Creative Technologist Jen Haugan created this portrait of the first American woman in space, Sally Ride:
“I really wanted to highlight Sally Ride not just because she was the first known LGBT astronaut, but also because of her firm resolve throughout her life to simply do what she wanted to do without letting stereotypes constrain her.” – Jen Haugan
“I would like to be remembered as someone who was not afraid to do what she wanted to do, and as someone who took risks along the way in order to achieve her goals.” – Sally Ride
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Fx Goby profiles David Bowie
Heading over to one of our Directors, Fx Goby who let his artistic skills shine bright when capturing this portrait of the Star Man himself.
“I chose David Bowie because he was such a different person, connected to who he truly was, breaking boundaries of gender and sexuality, and for me, such an alien and a living example of what could be possible!”
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Colin Davis profiles Tom of Finland
Executive Producer and interactive guru here at Nexus Studios, Colin Davis took the brief in a completely different and exciting direction with his ‘Tom of Finland (ToF) AI Project’. Hear from Colin:
“Tom of Finland (nee Touko Valio Laaksonen) paved the way for the legitimisation of gay, erotic art, creating archetypes that endure even today.
I’ve been training a few models around different datasets, this one of faces. Throughout evaluating the ‘fakes’, it’s been really interesting to see how a computer ‘sees’ his art. For example, it’s clear that ToF’s art is full of bulges: crotches, bums, pecs, arms, lips… There is a sense of ‘ripeness’ as if every body part is ready to burst. The AI doesn’t see body parts and confuses a bum for a chest, creating strange mashups of the variety of characters, of creating an x-rated mashup of body parts, evocative of Dali and HR Giger, rendered in a graphite sketch.
Technically, I have been doing this using Stylegan2, an AI tool to generate convincing ‘fakes’, trained from a pool of data. I went through one of my ToF art books, and made over 1800 photographs from the pages as the training set. This is still a work-in-progress project, as each model takes over 200 computer training hours, with no guarantee of usable results from it.”
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