Artist Enhances His Original Drawings by Openly Embracing AI as Creative Tool [Interview]

Mixed Media AI Artwork by Cy Teh

While many artists are running from AI, digital artist Cy Teh has embraced its creative possibilities. By blending his digital drawings with AI, he's creating unique mixed-media artworks that have taken his artistry to a new level.

As opposed to some creators who have hidden their use of this technology, Teh is very transparent about his creative process. Even his Instagram bio says: “Digital Artist + AI.” Additionally, all of Teh's posts are accompanied by a caption that clearly explains that the images are a combination of his hand-drawn work and AI.

“I will keep moving forward and learning the good parts of each field,” the captions continue. “I hope to share the fun with you through this platform. If it offends you. I sincerely apologize to you here.”

Teh's evocative work speaks to the best of AI and the way it can be used by people to enhance creativity rather than to steal ideas or fool the public. His haunting portraits of young and old men and women are mesmerizing, making the viewer wonder what the story is behind the artwork.

It's these human aspects that take Teh's digital art far beyond what we're used to seeing with AI. This made us curious to chat with him about his use of the technology and how it's been received by the public. Read on for My Modern Met's exclusive interview.

Drawing of an Older Gentleman

How did your love of art begin?

My passion for art began in high school, but due to my career in graphic design, I had to put it on hold for many years. It wasn't until the COVID-19 pandemic three years ago that I finally had the time to slowly start practicing drawing again.

Digital Drawing of Older Man Sitting Under a Tree by Cy Teh

When did you first encounter AI, and when did you realize that it might help you creatively?

I also discovered an artificial intelligence during the COVID-19 pandemic that can help me with painting techniques. AI has inspired me a lot in the field of art, so I really enjoy using it.

Portrait of a Woman by Cy Teh

You are very upfront about your usage of AI, so you aren't trying to hide that it's part of your creative process. What has been the public's reception to this disclosure?

I have faced polarized reactions when it comes to using artificial intelligence. While some people are very supportive, others are strongly against it. However, both groups have been of great help to me. After explaining my reasons and goals for using AI, some of the opponents have become good friends who understand my perspective. I have also used my artwork to explain, and they have been willing to accept it. This is where I find comfort.

Cy Teh Digital Drawings

What has been the most positive aspect of using AI in your work to create a true mixed-media product?

What I've learned the most from using artificial intelligence to create art is the ability to explore new possibilities and maintain the desire to learn new skills. This process has captivated me.

Cy Teh - Mixed Media AI Drawing

What is your creative process on these pieces?

My workflow involves using my casual doodles to generate the images I want with artificial intelligence and then using software to refine any imperfections.

Cy Teh - Mixed Media AI Drawing

What do you wish that people understood better about AI?

I hope people can understand that artificial intelligence is just a tool. It's our responsibility to use it correctly. It is indeed very powerful, and there are many aspects we can learn from it. Currently, I am learning how to blend its use with my own skills to create more possibilities. AI helps me maintain a sense of freshness in my art.

Cy Teh - Mixed Media AI Art

What do you hope that people take away from your work?

I hope that my artwork can inspire people to continue innovating in the field of art and to enjoy the process of continuous learning and exploration. This is my goal, and I hope to bring happiness to others while also finding joy in it myself.

Cy Teh - Mixed Media AI Art

Cy Teh: Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Cy Teh.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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