Interview with AI Artist Danilo Brandão


Danilo Brandão is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator, and visual artist. Assisted by AI, he creates surreal portraits with vivid colors and tactile textures, blending human features with abstract and unexpected elements to create a striking and thought-provoking visual impact.

Although the textures and elements involved are complex and deep, there's a certain simplicity in the composition of Danilo's portraits. Each artwork focuses on a central figure, often against a clean background, which keeps the viewer's attention on the interplay between the human and the abstract. This balance between complexity and compositional brevity lends a minimalistic feel to the pieces, despite their rich detail and vibrant palette.

Whether you're into advertising, design, or just love art, there's a lot to take away from Danilo's insights!

Graphic Designer & Visual Artist
📍 Sydney, Australia
Mar 13, 2024, 5:00 PM PT
Interview by Ana Ramon

How did you begin creating with AI, and how have you learned to do so?

Given my creative background, when I first stumbled upon what AI could do, I was like, “Whoa, this is cool!” DALL·E caught my eye, and I thought, “Why not give it a shot?”

Sure, the results weren’t mind-blowing at first, but the whole idea just fascinated me. I started tinkering around, exploring different tools, and then Midjourney came along, opening up a whole new world. It’s been a journey of trial and error, just having fun and learning as I go.

Could you walk us through your creative process when working with AI to create these pieces?

Oh, it’s a bit of a mixed bag, really.

At the beginning, I was just throwing stuff at the wall to see what stuck. Just trying out random ideas and seeing what the AI could come up with.

Over time, though, I started to find my style. I still like to play around and experiment, but now there’s a bit more method to the madness. I try to strike a balance between going with the flow and having a clear direction in mind.

How do you decide on the elements and subjects to incorporate in your AI art? Can you discuss the inspirations behind those choices?

It’s a bit of a mash-up, to be honest.

Sometimes it’s just whatever pops into my head in the moment. Other times, it’s drawing from years of experience in the creative world. You know, stuff I’ve seen and done.

It’s like a melting pot of ideas and influences, all coming together to create something new and unexpected.

How do you ensure that each new piece, while unique, still embodies your signature aesthetic?

Ah, that’s the challenge!

It’s all about finding that balance between staying true to a style while pushing the boundaries.

I like to think of it as curating a playlist—you want each song to have its own vibe, but they all still fit together somehow.

So, I’m always keeping an eye out for those little touches that give each piece its own flair while still keeping everything cohesive.

What challenges have you faced while working with AI?

Oh, where do I start?

Convincing some clients to hop on the AI train can be a tough sell sometimes. And then there’s the whole debate about AI vs. traditional art, which can get pretty heated.

On a more technical level, there are the usual frustrations—like when the AI just can’t seem to get those hands or small details right, no matter how many times you try.

What message or experience do you hope to convey to viewers of your art?

First and foremost, I want people to feel something when they look at my work. Whether it’s a laugh, a gasp, or just a raised eyebrow, I want to spark some kind of reaction, feeling.

Beyond that, though, I hope to show people something unexpected, to make them think, and maybe even see things in a slightly different way.

How do you balance the unpredictable nature of AI with your artistic direction?

It’s a bit of a dance, really. You never quite know what you’re going to get with AI, which can be both exciting and frustrating.

I’ve learned to embrace the chaos, though. Sometimes the best ideas come from those happy accidents. So, I try to roll with the punches and see where the AI takes me.

Could you provide some ideas to incorporate into prompts that consistently yield impactful results?

Ah, that’s a tricky one! With technology and trends constantly evolving, the style of prompts that deliver impactful results can vary greatly.

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly what works best, especially with so many different AI applications out there.

If you’re aiming for uniformity in your work, developing a structured prompt system could be a good idea. However, don’t be afraid to mix it up and explore different approaches from time to time. There’s no definitive answer here, but I believe clarity is key in any prompt you use. Keep in mind, you’re instructing a machine, so keep it simple and straightforward.

How has your experience in graphic design, illustration, and art direction influenced the way you use AI in your artwork?

It’s like having this toolbox of skills that I can draw from whenever I’m working with AI. So yeah, my background definitely shapes the way I approach AI creation.

But it’s not just about having skills; it’s about blending all my experiences to make something special. Everything I’ve learned—colour theory, composition, layout, visual hierarchy, image editing and manipulation, curation, etc.—helps me approach AI in my own way.

Mixing old-school tricks with new technology lets me do things I never thought possible.

Your pieces seem to evoke a sense of the surreal or dreamlike. Could you talk about how AI influences this aspect of your creativity?

Absolutely! AI helps to bring all the wildest creative ideas to life.

I love pushing the boundaries of reality, blurring the lines between the possible and the impossible, and the technology enables me to explore and manipulate visual elements in unconventional and improbable ways.

Have you used AI for commercial design projects?

Yep! Using AI for commercial design projects has been a game-changer.

It’s opened up this whole new world of creativity and flexibility in my work.

Being able to offer clients a diverse range of approaches and quickly generate variations and concepts has been incredibly satisfying. Sure, it’s not always a perfect fit for every project, but when it works, it works wonderfully.

For what kind of professional projects do you think AI works best?

AI is great for illustration, especially for collage work like mine. With AI, I can customize every element of my collages without the hassle of hunting for images or worrying about copyrights.

I see huge potential for AI in photography too. It’s not perfect yet, but I think it’ll soon be the go-to for creating standout campaign photos and other creative shots.

Ultimately, AI’s biggest advantage in commercial projects is its cost-cutting ability. In a world where money matters (excessively), businesses will appreciate saving on hiring models, renting gear, paying production crews, etc.

And hey, let’s not forget: this is just the beginning. I believe we’ll soon see AI transform a whole bunch of other professional fields too—think architecture, product design, set design, animation, fashion, and the list goes on.

What do you consider to be the most exciting possibility for AI in your future professional projects?

Oh, there’s so much potential, it’s hard to pick just one thing. But if I had to choose, I’d say I’m really looking forward to the day when AI can churn out those ultra-high-res images without breaking a sweat. That would open up a whole new world of possibilities for my work, especially when it comes to commercial gigs.

With over a decade in the creative industry, how do you see AI transforming the roles and processes within design agencies?

It’s definitely shaking things up, that’s for sure. But in a good way!

I think AI is less about replacing human designers and more about enhancing what we do.

It’s like having this smart assistant who can help you brainstorm ideas, mock up concepts, and much more. It’s all about working more efficiently and making the creative process and results even better.

Where do you see the role of human artists, designers, and creators going in an AI-dominated landscape?

Well, I like to think we’re still the captains of the ship.

AI might be the wind in our sails, but we’re the ones steering the ship.

We bring that human touch—the creativity, the emotion, the intuition—that AI just can’t replicate.

The Top 3

Top 3 words to describe your AI-generated work

Top 3 Al creatives whose work stands out to you

Top 3 improvements you wish to see in current Al tools

Hmm, good question! I’d say …

Top 3 advice for creatives considering starting to experiment with Al

Thank you, Danilo, for providing such a thorough look into your creative process and the way you blend AI with traditional artistry to create visually stunning pieces and innovative commercial projects.

We share your vision of a future where AI seamlessly integrates into every aspect of creativity, making workflows more efficient and elevating the quality of artistic output!

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