Joy Chiang shares her artistic journey fusing creativity and Generative AI

AI generated artwork by Joy Chiang

The blending of traditional art and cutting-edge technology fuels the creativity of Australian-Chinese artist Joy Chiang, whose contemporary abstract art transports you to new worlds.

Hailing from a background in urban planning and development, Joy’s transition from cityscapes to canvases was fuelled by her curiosity to capture the beauty of her surroundings. But her creativity doesn't stop there; it's woven with the threads of her evolving life story.

Joy has a limitless curiosity for the intersection between traditional art and artificial intelligence. We sat down with Joy to learn more about the evolution of her work and the creative avenues that generative AI is opening.

Created in Adobe Express, headshot of Joy surrounded by AI-generated flowers.

Headshot created using Adobe Express

Tell us about your journey as an artist to date!

My journey as an artist started during my maternity leave almost five years ago. I felt an irresistible urge to paint on big canvases. Initially, it was just something for our home, but I thought it could be a lovely way to capture and share my personal journey with my daughter as she grows older. Those canvases gradually transformed into a sanctuary for me. They provided an outlet for exploration, allowing me to express, celebrate, and untangle the myriad of emotions that came with the experience of becoming a mother.

AI-generated artwork of a staircase to a whimsical sky with pastel clouds

How has your style evolved over the years, and what factors influenced this transformation?

During my maternity leave, I adopted a 'no holdback, nothing to lose' approach, which gave me the confidence to try different creative avenues. Over the years, I've learned to fearlessly follow what sparks my inspiration.

At the start, I found myself immersed in the creative process, unable to put down the brush. This exploration turned out to be instrumental in shaping my artistic identity. Certain themes and motions began to reoccur consistently, gradually evolving into the aesthetic that resonated with me the most.

I've always been captivated by the interplay of fluid elements and movements in artworks; a fascination that remained even when I delved into the realm of digital art. Whether it's the choice of inks or the pixels in my motion graphics, that distinctive style has found its way into everything I create.

AI-generated artwork

Are there any themes or concepts that you keep coming back to in your work?

One concept I often revisit in my work is finding the balance between vulnerability and demonstrating strength. The early years of motherhood were quite a struggle for me. Shifting from being a working professional to being a mum 24-7 was a real adjustment. I often explore my feelings during this time to help make sense of my personal journey.

My work is also a nod to my Chinese heritage, and I intentionally infuse ink and calligraphy brushes into my paintings to reflect this. I like seeing the combination of mediums like ink and calligraphy collide in my recent digital works.

As an early adopter of generative AI, what initially sparked your interest?

During my second maternity leave, I found myself with the time to explore the world of digital art, a decision driven by my fascination with animations and 3D modelling. This opened a path towards delving into 3D motion graphics, NFTs, and the realm of web3.

Then, with the emergence of AI on the horizon, my curiosity got the best of me.

I was fortunate enough to gain early access to certain programs and even tried my hand at training my own models using my physical paintings. The unpredictable outputs that emerged were incredibly invigorating to witness. It was like a wave of entirely new inspiration, something I hadn't experienced since I first started painting.

Embracing the unexpected has led me to this new avenue, one that adds a fresh layer of uniqueness and interest to my artistic journey.

Artwork created using Photoshop Generative Fill

How has experimenting with AI tools opened up new possibilities and avenues of creative expression for you?

The incorporation of AI has truly revolutionised the way I generate ideas or experiment with themes before creating a physical or digital artwork.

In my workflow, I leverage AI to expedite the presentation of concepts to clients before wasting time on drafts that get knocked back. This has significantly accelerated the collaborative process.

Beyond its practical applications, AI has given me a novel avenue for creative exploration. It feels like wielding a magic wand, conjuring compositions, delving into materials, blending mediums, and exploring diverse architectural styles.

From your perspective, how can AI and human creativity coexist with each other in the future?

It’s an additional medium and a supportive tool. It's your role to inject it with feelings, intuition, your narrative, and your unique style. Until you've experimented with using it to bring your imaginative ideas to life in your distinct style, you can't dismiss its potential.

As artists, we already juggle multiple roles, so having more tools at our disposal grants us more time for actual creation.

If you could offer one piece of advice to your younger self, what would it be?

Embrace your uniqueness and simply begin. If there's a passion that fuels you, something you're driven by, don't hold back. Navigating the digital landscape can be intimidating, considering all the metrics that people focus on. Imposter syndrome can easily creep in. Let authenticity guide; The more you overthink, the less you’ll do. Pick an inspiration a day and start creating. With AI so accessible now, let your imagination roam, its honestly SO fun.

Find more creative inspiration or learn more about generative AI at Adobe MAX 2023.