May Zhou
May Zhou
May is a multi-disciplinary designer based in New York who loves experimenting digital technology with tangible objects.
Currently obsessed with plants 🌱
Thesis Faculty
Harpreet Sareen
Loretta Wolozin
Sven Travis

Storytelling, Pain, Painted

Painteller is an ongoing community project showcasing a series of AI-generated oil paintings based on a crowdsourced collection of stories. The narratives focus on communication breakdown within multigenerational and multicultural families across the Asian American community. The project was sparked by recent years of political events that generated tension within many Asian American families. Painteller creates a unique physical oil painting to document each individual story. The machine and human collaboration performance serve as a metaphor that parallels the experience for the western and eastern cultural intersection, reflecting upon an alienated but indivisible relationship. This project is to investigate the human-machine co-creation collaboration in a social context, as well as exploring the machine interpretation of human emotions and expressions.

The very original idea of the project started in 2020 when President Trump was running for reelection and was in the center of the spotlight. I started gathering stories of family communication breakdowns with Asian American families through my friends, Reddit, and Facebook.

This is a co-creation process

Narrative expressed by humans + Visuals generated by the machine based on the human input.
Research and experimentations of both components were done to test and trial different combinations of storytelling and visualizations. As an artist, balancing the figurative and the abstraction within the visuals is vital to the project, leaving the viewer enough space for interpret the story freely, but also allowing them to grasp the context and being able to draw connections between the narrative and the imagery.

Text-to-image experiments using CLIP, Taming Transformers, and BigGAN.