I scrolled by the Split portrait of Murakami on his instagram.
And I remember seeing a similar portrait of Kiko Mizuraha that he also made.
I have made a photoshop based portrait of Kiko, early on in the m0dels series, but not a computer generated (byte) series. I thought it would be fun to make my own version of that portrait using code. So I started thinking about how I could achieve a layered ‘onion’ effect like that.
Only after I coded several versions rendered 1000s of images and selected the final 8 for this series, I went looking for the original Murakami / Kiko inspiration as I had it in my memory. And could not find it. Murakami never made a portrait of Kiko, but of Billie Eilish.
But I vividly remember how the sculpture of Kiko looked, with multiple layers, with distinct faces revealed in each layer. So totally not like Billy Eilish or his self portrait, but more like the ones below, but in my memory it was 3D, a sculpture.
I now think I must have dreamt it.
The masking technique I first used on the Birgit (byte) portraits, where I used one bit masks to create the portraits. For this series of Kiko I wanted to use anti-aliasing. And I wanted to make high res photo’s to reflect the high realistic rendering of the Murakami sculpture. So I developed a way to use grayscale masks. And I used AI enlargement (in Photoshop, I did not find bigjpg to be much better, and Photoshop more convenient to just batch process all images) to prepare all the face-crops that I collected in a high resolution.
I wrote a program where I could experiment with the number of ‘layers’ and length and depth of shadows. I also shifted the photos in the outer layers away from the middle to make the 3D effect more convincing.
All in all I did a lot more image manipulation than I even have in these collage portraits.
The original portraits of Kylie, Fei Fei and Lara, were all about using existing as-is images and pixels without any alteration, just placing them against each other, not altering. My original Kiko portrait, made in photoshop, was also like that.
In this series of Kiko I was going after a very specific end result and effect, and am still pleasantly surprised at the diverse results.
In the final selection of 8 images I focused on different ways the layering suggested different meanings and on different aspects, sometimes formal sometimes representational sometimes psychological. In some there is a gradation of joy from outside to inside. Some have a nice gradient of colors.