Swedish artist Anders Brasch perceives his AI renderings as ‘natural’ digital artefacts. Creating harmony between opposing worlds, he combines the almighty powers of technology and nature to explore humanity, collective identity, and what gives an artwork its soul.
Across the coastline of the Baltic Sea, amongst birch trees, and behind Sweden’s Kebnekaise peak, nature whispers to Anders Brasch. The Swedish native breathes inspiration from the surrounding natural environment, handpicking the most striking of its phenomena to implement into his 3D microcosms, where humanity, nature, and artificial intelligence collide.
Anders Brasch-Willumsen is the director of Studio Brasch, an art and design studio that emphasises nature-inspired imagery and forward-thinking animations. The roots of Anders’ creativity, he explains, lies in the concept of nature overrunning a world abandoned by humankind. “All my work is inspired by nature in one way or another,” he says. “I’m fascinated by natural phenomena, patterns, and how natural environments can alter your mind, how it can help you feel more relaxed and grounded.”
Anders first began drawing at an early age, transfixed by colour and proportion. Since, he has explored various mediums, from graffiti to graphic design to photography. But, despite a career as a full time artist, it was not until he discovered blockchain that he truly felt part of a wider artistic community. “One of the greatest things about web3 is the active community. Although we all may work in different styles, there is a common ground that easily connects us,” he explains. “It’s a beautiful thing to have finally found your own community.”
That common theme is, of course, the blockchain, and the use of NFTs to record the provenance of digital work that would otherwise be indistinguishable from duplicates. But Anders finds that technology helps as much in the process of creating art as it does in the process of authenticating it. “I think about nature from an emotional, human perspective, but I want to suggest new ways of looking at nature through the use of technology — the latter being an important part as we humans merge more and more with technology,” Anders reflects.
Anders’ perception of nature is represented across his body of work, including commissioned work for clients such as Apple, Burberry, Givenchy, and Yves Saint Laurent. “Whether a major brand or smaller company, my clients come to me for my personal creative work, conceptual thinking, and style,” he says, noting that, whilst client work does not hinder his creativity, it is his personal creations that empower him to explore new techniques, push his boundaries, and communicate with the world. “My NFTs take on a new life in the hands of a collector who will appreciate them purely for what they are, without logos or edits,” Anders explains. “The idea that someone connects so strongly with my work that they wish to acquire it is really what’s magical about web3.”
We see this magic transcend into his collection, Aikebana, a series of organic 3D sculptures that combine artificial intelligence with natural themes, inspired by Ikebana, the formal art of Japanese flower arrangement.
“Technology and experimentation have always played a key role in developing the work that Studio Brasch has come to be known for, and Aikebana is the latest entry to that category,” Anders says. This new entry explores the idea of preserving flowers, nature, and art to highlight and immortalise their natural beauty, all on the blockchain.
“I saw it as a kind of futuristic archeology, like ‘natural’ digital artefacts.”
— Anders Brasch
When first incorporating AI into the Aikebana project, Anders discovered that it was easy to use the technology to create simple things, but he wanted to press it further, experimenting with random, incoherent prompts to iterate on the same image repeatedly. “This formula gave me some really strange outputs that had clear but mutated traces from nature,” he recalls. “I love that because I saw it as a kind of futuristic archeology, like ‘natural’ digital artefacts.”
“I find it fascinating that these AI forms came from nature, but have been filtered through our collective memory,” he says of the photos from the Internet on which the model was trained. “Then, this was interpreted by a confused AI that had possibly lost control,” he continues. “This got me thinking about the soul of the work, who actually created it, and our collective memory.” So, is Aikebana the artwork of the machine, Anders, or both? To that, Anders says, “The answer perhaps lies somewhere in between all of it. Through Aikebana, I’m able to discover forms that defy categorisation and almost have a soul of their own, one that exists somewhere between technology and those who control it.”
Anders’ work is a commentary on the interrelationship of humanity and nature. In his overgrown wonderlands, one witnesses the mighty forces of nature overpowering man-made creations, reminding the viewer that humankind is not the pinnacle of life on earth, and that nature remains a force to be reckoned with. In these scenes, we witness a battle — a power struggle between nature and humanity — which personifies the former, humbles the latter, and asks what it truly means to be a living entity, with a soul and spirit.
Sometimes we are able to intervene, uncover, and influence nature. Sometimes we are merely bystanders. Anders’ art speaks to this powerlessness, framing humanity as just one part of the earth, nature, and the universe. We are not the centre of being, and we can be one with nature.
At the same time, his work addresses the complexities of AI and technology in relation to the natural world, placing inherently man-made creations in juxtaposition with the power of nature. This is a synthesis and contrast that has no obvious conclusion. “That’s the beauty of my job,” Anders says. “There’s no end to a creative pursuit. You’ll never run out of subjects, or be the perfect artist. It’s endless. There’s always more to explore.”
“My NFTs take on a new life in the hands of a collector who will appreciate them purely for what they are.”
— Anders Brasch
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