NICE AUNTIES: LIVING A DREAM LIFE THANKS TO A.I.

July 20, 2023 Singapore


Prompt: Open call by @jupiterfong to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

From wearing fabulous outfits to beach parties to having high-fashion photo shoots next to oversized produce, this group of senior women is living an unconventional life. But they only exist thanks to AI. 

Scrolling through the @niceaunties Instagram feed is as puzzling as familiar. The account serves as a sort of photo album in which we follow their intergalactic adventures as well as some mundane moments like cooking with mysterious foods that only exist in their alternate universe or morning meditations in sequin outfits. (Are there mornings in the Hyperspace?)

Prompt: #HauntedVillageFete. Generated for a competition held by @hauntedpastels

Beyond the fun aesthetics, there's something strangely fascinating in these images. It's hard to describe the feeling but the more you look into the details, the more you start noticing something is slightly off and you can't really put it into words. Like when you're trying to describe in detail something you saw in a dream. 

                                                                                                                        Prompt: Open call by @jupiterfong to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

I have a soft spot for grandmas so, naturally, when I first discovered their account I loved seeing a group of aunties living all sorts of exciting adventures. But then I also had some questions: Why older women? Why are they doing all of this? Are they based on someone? How do they choose where to go next? Who is running this project? 

Curious as always (it's a blessing and a curse, really), I reached out to them and had the chance to interview Wenhui, the Singapore based artist behind Nice Aunties. Our email exchange can be read below. 

@niceaunties

Hi Wenhui, thank you for this conversation!

I first discovered your account through another account called Fruit Assembly and I became fascinated by these aunties going on all sorts of wild adventures and scenarios created with AI! 

Carla/Artifier: Tell me about this concept. When did you start working on this and why did you choose to have three senior ladies as your main characters?

Wenhui: I started working on this idea in early January this year when I discovered the AI program called 'midjourney,' which is a text-to-image prompt engine. Being able to express myself through creating art almost instantaneously became addictive, and portraying issues that are close to my heart and environment naturally became a recurring theme.

My inspiration came from the asian culture I grew up in and my family. My maternal grandmother had dementia and was bedridden for 20 years. Because of this, my mother made a resolution to stay active in her silver years. She regularly dances, practices qi-gong (similar to tai chi), and performs with her friends on stage at festivals. I realized that this is not the case for most aging women, as I have aunties who have held back from pursuing their dreams, perhaps restricted by self-imposed expectations.
Through exploring this dichotomy of conflicting ways to deal with the loss of youth, I wanted to create a world where women feel free and empowered to be outrageous, joyful, have fun, and be free.

@niceaunties

Are these characters based on anyone you know?

They are loosely based on typical 'auntie behaviors' in Asia in combination with my own experiences of aunties and what may be happening in my life at the point of creating the artwork, but no, not based on anyone in particular.

Which tools do you use to create these images?

• Midjourney --text to image
• Runway ML Gen 2 -- text to video
• Photoshop , occasionally

Collaboration with @heirofthedog

How long does it take to create a scene?

It depends on how far I want to 'pursue and perfect' the artwork, could be anywhere between 0.5 -to 30 hours.

Do you have a specific idea in mind before you start working on a new work?

I have a big picture theme when I start, but in the process, Midjourney often creates surprising twists and turns. I let the process flow organically, which means Midjourney becomes my art partner rather than just a tool. Some new ideas emerge during this process, and I tweak my prompt multiple times throughout the creation of a set. The end result stays true to the big picture theme and intended energy, although the details are organically formed.

                                                                                                                            Prompt: Open call by @jupiterfong to celebrate AAPI Heritage Month

Is Nice Aunties your only project?

It is currently my main art project, though I have worked with a fashion designer based in NYC creating art backgrounds for her new fashion collection, back in April.


Lastly, would you share with us some of your favourite artists or accounts you like to visit when you're looking for inspiration?

The AI art community has been incredibly supportive, positive and uplifting, I couldn't have been more grateful

I follow so many artists and they are so talented in their own ways, a few of them talented women right off the bat @crimson.m.o.o.n @walledcity_wildest_dreams @jupiterfong @celestoid.aiaio
For AI blogs I like looking at @promptforum for surrealist ai art and @behaind.the.screen for artist stories

Two ai artists I collaborated with lately with a lot of artistic resonance and personal inspiration, here is a special shoutout to them:

@dissociative_dreams
@pancakepie360


Outside of the ai community accounts that have so much positive energy that made me go WOW are @cnikarts and @fruitassembly

Thanks for the chat!

@niceaunties


About Wenhui 

Wenhui is a Singaporean artist whose art series, "niceaunties," is inspired by her 11 aunties, her mother and her late grandmother. Her unique perspective on the endearing and sometimes absurd behavior of "aunties" showcases the auntie culture that is prevalent in Asian communities worldwide. Through her use of digital media and AI, Wenhui empowers women by imagining an alternate reality where aunties can pursue their passions freely.Aside from her artistic pursuits, Wenhui studied architecture and has worked in the industry for over two decades. She's a partner of an architectural practice in Singapore and Shanghai and has shared her insights and expertise through lectures at universities and online forums in Asia and Australia.

Twitter: @niceaunties
Instagram: @niceaunties 









© Artifier | Contemporary Art + Creativity. Design by Fearne.