Artist makes portraits from Hubble telescope photos

We're full of stars!

Some people believe they're nothing more than flesh and blood, overlooking the majestic, miraculous awe of life. Barcelona-based artist Sergio Albiac might change that view, putting the cosmic mystery back into our composition through his.

Taking user-submitted photos, Albiac turns flesh and blood humans into cosmic beings with his recent project, “Stardust Portraits.”

In his latest project, willing participants send photos to Albiac, who runs it through his specially designed software. Then, an algorithm chooses two cosmic images -- space shots captured by the Hubble Telescope -- and morphs them into a collage, containing both human and planetary features, including stars and galaxies.


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Known for creating generative portraits, Albiac uses computers as a medium, just as other artists use paper and pencils. Despite the fact his artwork is computer-generated, he stresses that there is a human aspect when creating such a piece.

When coding a generative sketch, Albiac introduces control by introducing factors that govern the sketching action, as well as a certain degree of randomness within the code. He then selects certain outputs, and paints the canvas using the selected generative images as a starting point, he explains on his website. By doing so, he is exploring a “dialogue” between control/randomness and machine/human interaction.

Ultimately, Albiac wants to viewers to see alternative answers to “his or her questions or better, totally new doubts,” according to his website.

“I’m interested in the effect of chance on human experience,” he told Wired. “Generative art, which basically outsources artistic and aesthetic decisions, is a fascinating approach to express these kind of concepts.”

Inspired by the formation of atomic nuclei from preexisting cosmic matter, or nucleosynthesis, humans are “believed to be novel combinations of cosmic stardust. It could be argued that the whole universe is the biggest running generative art installation today,” Albiac explains on his website.

Having created around 1,250 portraits, eventually, he’d like to produce upwards of 100,000, according to Wired. Still, he hopes that using the computer will forever cement his impression on art.

“Life is finite. Creativity isn't,” he muses on his website. “An artist has the potential to create infinite artworks but only some of them will see the light due to the constraint of time.”