Nettrice R. Gaskins

Visiting Faculty, MFA LR Program

Digital artist, researcher, and educator Dr. Nettrice Gaskins’ images open new frontiers of artistic expression while posing moral and ethical questions about the future uses of AI. With algorithms and machine learning as her media, Gaskins explores what she calls “techno-vernacular creativity” with her practice. She used AI generators to create the “Rosie” portrait series. Gaskins’ “Rosies” imagine a future for women’s labor by merging World War II’s Rosie the Riveter, an allegorical cultural icon, with Industry 4.0, which is characterized by rapid change to technology, industries, and society due to the emergence of Big Data, AI and other recent developments. The “Rosies” acknowledge a historical Digital Divide that refers to the lack of digital skills, which impedes the handling of technology, as well as the ways in which race and class intersect with claims of digital democracy. Gaskins used text prompts in Midjourney to describe what she wanted the AI to create. She used modifiers in Deep Dream Generator to specify to the AI the desired creation and its appearance. She used Neural Filters in Adobe Photoshop, which are powered by AI and a machine learning engine to make image adjustments. These AI tools synthesize images with different styles to create an evolving aesthetic vocabulary.

Dr. Nettrice R. Gaskins explores “techno-vernacular creativity” and Afrofuturism. She earned a BFA in Computer Graphics with Honors from Pratt Institute in 1992 and an MFA in Art and Technology from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 1994. She received a doctorate in Digital Media from Georgia Tech in 2014. Currently, Dr. Gaskins is a 2021 Ford Global Fellow and the assistant director of the Lesley STEAM Learning Lab at Lesley University.