Artist uses AI as a tool for her work

Still of Jessie Babin's exposition "Figures and Portraits: New Possibilities in Drawing through A.I and Robotics." available at the Gallery 78, located on 796 Queen St, Fredericton, NB. (Daniel Salas/AQ)

The recent fast-pace development in the world of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been perceived by some as a threat to creative pursuits. This is not the case for Jessie Babin and her new approach to art, which welcomes AI as a partner in her work.

“What a human can’t do with a human hand,” said Babin. “To blend human and machine.”

Babin’s art has been on display at Gallery 78.

She recalls meeting an employee from Gallery 78 during the 2023 Canada Winter Games as she was one of the artists who helped with the cultural components of the event.

Around the same time as the Canada Games, Babin was in the thick of her post-secondary education at the Nova Scotia University of Art and Design. Her professor noticed her talent for drawing and challenged her to try new strategies.

Babin took the challenge and ran with it.

“I use an interface and text to generate references to get really unique images, I try to source subjects into figurative portraits,” said Babin.

Babin uses AI for all sorts of things, such as photography by applying the AI afterwards to add in more specific details, or in her drawing projects by asking the AI to define pencil lines.

“[It’s an] interesting experiment,”said Babin.“[To] go through it and see how all it can be used and focus on the good rather than the bad.”

Germaine Pataki-Theriault, the Gallery 78 manager, said she has nothing but the utmost respect for Babin’s work, as she is “driving art into the future.”

Still of two pieces made by Babin, “Ascent, 2023.” (Right) and “Fervent, 2023.” (Left). (Daniel Salas/AQ)

“Jessie has always been good at challenging herself, staying outside of the box,” said Pataki-Theriault, who has been working with Babin for more than 10 years.

Over the past decade, Babin has been toying with new and innovative ways to create her art.

Babin said AI is merely an extra tool to help her accomplish more focused and precise pieces of art. She added this technology helps her work on more than one piece at a time. It also allows her to get artwork done faster for showcase and for selling them to the masses.

“Humans have two legs; sure, you can walk to your destination; but if you’re offered a bicycle instead, you’re going to take it,” said Babin.