cover dao presentation

When the let-go period is over

AI + I presentation

AI + I presentation: So much new and I don’t even know where to start. Maybe with a sentence from Andy Warhol: “Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

As hopefully everyone knows I don’t pursue any agendas (except to praise myself, of course). Whether someone is interested in my desperate attempts to create art, or is interested in topics like Dao or Zen or my thoughts on them, is something I cannot influence, nor do I have any intentions to do so. What I’m trying to do is to introduce some of my ideas and – ideally – give readers a “bone to chew on”. In addition to the pleasure in itself that comes from looking at my pictures, sure.

Of course, when it comes to AI, things get even more complicated. And since there are already some misunderstandings, I would like to clarify my position on this again: Art is Art and is created in a dialogue between my self, which is largely philosophically determined, and the painting surface. Point, basta. Even which painting media (oil, ink, mixed media…) I use is of secondary importance to me.

But for an artist there are other areas that she/he has to deal with, such as presentation of the artwork or marketing. And I think that the sensible use of new technologies for these purposes can be very helpful. Above all, you save a huge amount of time if you have small things taken care of elsewhere.

presentation 1: a small painting

I would like to introduce a little experiment and, for the sake of a better effect, I have chosen a work that probably does not immediately cause a “love at first sight” feeling to everybody. The picture is a work from last year with various inks on paper and is only approx. 20 x 30 cm in size. Big enough for our game.

dao and wow

In the following clip I would like to show how this little work, presented in an appropriate ambience, can change its character and – in the best case – a different relationship to the work can arise in the viewer.

short, little clip for a small painting

It’s easy to imagine the possibilities that open up there. You have to be careful to concentrate on the essentials and ignore all the gimmicks that are on offer. Unfortunately, despite all this, it still always turns into work 😊

presentation 2: book illustrations

Last week, Wolfgang Kubin and I presented his new book in Vienna, which I was allowed to illustrate. The illustrations in the book are in black and white, which has its own charm. And now I have put together a presentation for interested readers in which the images are shown in color and in a virtual interior.

The video was not intended as a decoy for my millionaire friends

And finally: I will try not to address the topic of AI often in my posts, don’t worry! If I introduce reels that were also generated with AI, I will show them as “Extra” at the end of the posting.



45 responses to “When the let-go period is over”

  1. Mike U. avatar

    I was immediately struck by the surreal three-dimensionality of the painting you feature in this post. The brush strokes are sublime and invite the viewer to reach into the painting and explore its meaning. Fascinating, beautiful work, Friedrich. 🙂

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much, Mike 🙏 I am glad you like it. Still trying to improve my brushwork.

  2. Spira avatar

    I agree 100% with your AI stance. The results are self-evident.
    As someone who does all the work in presenting my art, and for good reason, I can relate to the time/energy saving from the use of AI in these areas. Now, as you stated, if someone expects all that to be done with a press of a button… there is a steep lurning curve if someone wants to really take advantage of these tools. The end result though can be from very good to mindblowing.
    A turning point of our civilization’s history we are iving in… we might as well make the best of it.l

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      100% agree! Yes, you have to be willing to learn and explore the opportunities that present themselves. We only do what’s in our heads anyway. If I asked AI to portray me as a brave dragon slayer, that would of course work – but who cares? And, yes, we are at a real turning point, comparable to the beginning of the Internet.

  3. Traum(A)Kinder avatar

    In den Videos kommt sehr schön zur Geltung, wie sehr Kunst eigene Räume benötigt. Nach dem Schaffen kommt- zum Glück- der Dialog mit Betrachtern.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Danke Dir sehr, dass Du Dir die Zeit genommen hast und es freut mich, dass Du dem was abgewinnen kannst. Spielerei mit großem Potential. Zur Zeit allerdings noch ein Zeitfresser 🙂 Sonniges Wochenende und liebe Gruesse aus Wien 🙂

  4. graham mcquade avatar

    It’s good to let rip sometimes and see what comes out. There can be pleasant surprises – and failures, but they can be painted over.
    Personally, I dont do enough of it myself.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks, Graham! I generally think that you always gain something when you try something new. Sometimes you miss the mark, but at some point you recognize the essence of what you have created and incorporate it into new works. Of course there is also the risk of a dead end 🙂

  5. swabby429 avatar

    I’ve had mixed feelings about AI and creativity. For now, I justify it in the same way that musicians utilize high tech like synthesizers to create and present their compositions. It’s all about context and the process of opening the mind to new possibilities.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks! We’re still pretty early on with AI and of course we’re playing around with it a lot to get familiar with it. It is always up to us what we do with given opportunities. I am well aware of the pitfalls.

  6. julianeus avatar


    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you very much 🙏☀️ I am happy you like it 😄

  7. Ashley avatar

    Interesting! You know my thoughts about AI but here…you are nudging me to think again! Go with the flow? 🤔🙋‍♂️

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thanks a lot, Ashley! Everyone has to answer the question of whether we need it for themselves. However, I think that most people still have no idea how much AI can simplify their work and everyday life. Younger people find it easier. Happy weekend! 🙂

  8. The Sicilian Storyteller avatar

    That Warhol quote is a classic!
    AI is everywhere these days; whether that’s good or not, I am undecided. However, I have seen some incredible AI artwork which has blown my mind and that is always a good thing.
    A fascinating and informative post, Fred … as usual!

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you so much! Of course, I know that my comments about AI won’t make everyone happy. On the other hand, it offers so much relief in so many areas and I thought it was important to point this out. What each of us does with it is a different matter. However, I can’t do anything with AI-generated art yet. Enjoy a great weekend!

      1. The Sicilian Storyteller avatar

        Thanks, Fred. You as well!

  9. Martha Kennedy avatar

    Warhol is right. As for AI, ChatGPT has been a lot of help to me in my quest to make paint from a semi-local hematite ore.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Thank you Martha, great to hear that! For certain reasons bingchat suits better for my needs. Like when I stumble upon a lengthy paper. 1 click and you get those hundred pages summarised. And then you start a dialogue to focus on certain topics or ask for explanations. Or you ran into a tech problem with a new program aso.

      1. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I think it’s wonderful. I could not find clear instructions or answers to my questions anywhere. Lots of self-indulgent videos and articles that assumed the person reading already knew things I didn’t know at all. Pretty much like you stumbling on a lengthy paper! It’s probably silly, but I liked that the AI had been programmed to be supportive and encouraging. I knew it was its training, but I liked it anyway. We’re trained similarly, right? If we’re kind people.

      2. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        We all have different needs, interests, tasks.. and therefore we might prefer different assistants. Frankly speaking I just cannot watch those explanation videos on YouTube because I can’t stand the way they are presented and because overall quality in most of them. A little discussion with AI and I get a precise answer and can see where the wisdom comes from.

      3. Martha Kennedy avatar

        Same here. Those things on Youtube drive me even further into insanity 😉 seriously, I don’t know what they are. Infomercials?

      4. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Since very long time we live in a world of infotainment or, as you correctly call it infomercials and we are all fed up. And then we get a gratis tool for finding help in no time and some people start to hyperventilate. In a couple of years we will think back and laugh when we remember how some tricky influencers explained the world for us 😂

      5. Martha Kennedy avatar

        That’s brilliant. That explains why I was so deeply grateful to ChatGPT for just telling me how to grind this mineral and how to make it into paint. I said to it, “This won’t mean anything to you but I am very grateful to get clear concise instructions. Thank you so much.” I laughed at myself, but I can’t be someone else. It graciously applauded my curiosity, wished me luck, and said I could come back for more help. Seriously. We really ARE in a world like that. 🤣

      6. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Yes, I can tell you (bing chat) it makes a big difference in the way you communicate. If you don’t agree with his answer politely tell him that he should think about it again. That reminds me of the early days of computers. We had a IBM. You made a mistake and it said ERROR. Than came HP. Same case but it said: One of us two was wrong. 🤣

      7. Martha Kennedy avatar

        Oh yes and error meant you wandering outside of the world of binary coding. I had to teach a bunch of bankers from Indonesia (1987 or so) to write simple BASIC programs. The first day in the computer lab, they were terrified. Some of them sat at arm’s length from the computer. I had written a five line bit of code that asked them their name then responded with “Hi Friedrich. Nice to meet you!” One guy jumped up from his chair and said “Teacher! How does it know my name??”

        Their task was to write a simple spread sheet. They were all going to a special program at Harvard but they needed to know a little something before that. Great people. I had a wonderful time.

        But I think it was partly messages like ERROR that scared people back then. My colleagues were scared the PCs would take their jobs. I see the same with AI.

      8. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        🤣Exactly! Similar stories here. And then again with the beginning of internet. Not easy then to tell people how this would change our personal life and society. Even close friends called me crazy when I told them my visions and those were quite conservative. But yes, as always with new inventions and with e.g. the sociopolitical model we have, I sure can understand concerns.

      9. Martha Kennedy avatar

        I do understand. I remember my grandmother jumping up and saying “My lord!” whenever her phone rang. She was born in the 1880s, lived a rural life in Montana and died in 1962. She saw a lot of changes. 🙂

      10. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        Haha! And the development curve is getting steeper and steeper.

      11. Martha Kennedy avatar

        Yep! Faster, too!

      12. Martha Kennedy avatar

        P.S. Thanks for introducing this technology to me.

      13. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

        I am happy ☺️

  10. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

    Congrats on the release of Wolfgang Kubin’s new book with your amazing illustrations! AI’s color display is impressive: An excellent way to get the attention of your millionaire friends 🙂
    Your video experimental presentation of a “not-so-love-at-first-sight” painting is quite revelatory. It’s all a matter of the overall context of the setting. So much like our own individual personalities that come to life and glow when we feel connected within a given ambient.
    An interesting and insightful post 🙂

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      As always, thank you very much, Rosaliene, for your valuable contribution. Yes, images can look completely different in different environments – and so do we 🙂 New technologies are so exciting and I wish I had the time to get better at them. Best regards from Vienna!

      1. Rosaliene Bacchus avatar

        Best wishes to you, too, from Los Angeles!

  11. Edith avatar

    Vom Buch habe ich nichts anderes erwartet, als dass es toll wird. Und ich bin bei dir felsenfest der Meinung, dass deine Bilder gut ohne KI auskommen. Trotzdem, was du gezeigt hast ist beeindruckend. Stutzig machte mich dein Satz, dass Malmittel zweitrangig sind. Ich war der festen Annahme, dass dir vorher im Kopf rumgeht, womit du malst. Wieder was gelernt. Friedlich, wie immer, mein Lob gehört dir. Von ganzem Herzen, Edith

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Vielen herzlichen Dank, für Deine, wie immer, freundlichen, ermunternden Worte. Es war der erste Versuch einer Präsentation, wie ich sie mir vorstelle. Was die Malmittel betrifft: ich meinte, dass ich mit verschiedenen Techniken gleich gut zu Rande komme und sie eben nur eine Form des Malens sind. Alles Liebe! f

      1. Edith avatar

        Versuch macht klug, und das bist du. Und, achso, dann verstehe ich. Sorry, manchmal stehe ich aufm Schlauch, lächel…
        Alles Liebe für dich!
        Herzlichst, Edith

  12. christinenovalarue avatar

    Tellement vrai 🩶

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Vielen Dank, Christine!🌹

  13. Carolyn Kaiser Harmon avatar

    Dear Friedrich: I love your open mind because it leads you to teach us all. If we are good at what we do, bring on everything. Your 20 x 30 vibrant gestural painting leaves an infatuation and desire to know more about you. Thank you for the beauty you give and for all of the tools afforded to do so.

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Dear Caroly, I am very pleased that you can relate to my journey through art. I’m not always sure what I post makes sense. But I’m always serious – as much as I can be serious.

  14. Cindy Georgakas avatar

    I could chew on your bones all day Friedrich and hang your great art on my walls.. I just hung a piece on my walls that I just painted a bone color and used to be Redwood. Now that would have been horrific… or we’d need that wine and a lot of it to appreciate it.. lol 💕

    1. Zettl Fine Arts avatar

      Oh, Cindy! Not only does every word of your well-formulated analysis wet my throat like mead, but one can also naturally recognize the great literati in you, the connoisseur of art and culture. When I become famous and rich, which can’t be long now, you will be the first person I offer the job of being my press secretary. 💕

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