April 25, 2023

Creator Spotlight: Art For The Future with Ashley Zelinskie

“Art and science are put into different boxes, but I believe the goal is the same,” says conceptual artist Ashley Zilenskie. “What science does on an intellectual level, art does on an emotional level. Both are trying to figure out whos, whats and whys of life. Science needs art, art needs science. A match made in heaven.” 

This combination of art and science is why we are excited to have a multi-talented artist like Ashley as a 3D·AI creator in the Leia community.

For as long as she can remember, the Philadelphia native has been fascinated by the combination of art and STEM disciplines. Ashley first began implementing new technology into her art as a student at the Rhode Island School of Design, and continued to do so ever since. 

After graduating from college, she moved to New York and opened her Brooklyn-based studio to pursue her passion. A decade ago, the art and technology space was difficult subject matter and barely getting off of the ground. As she puts it, “Everyone was moving to Bushwick and starting a studio. The city can eat you up and spit you out. But it’s very rewarding.”

Today, Ashley’s work features AI, 3D printing, computer-guided laser cutting and satellite plating technology has been featured in Vice, Brooklyn Magazine and The New York Times among others. Every few years, she focuses on a different type of science for her work.

Right now, Ashley is exploring the realm of space…she even has a partnership with NASA!  

She uses telescope images to create art. “I’m working more with the Webb telescope team,” she says, “I want to create pieces that convey how it feels to be in space and what it’s like to Earth from space. I want people to experience the feelings and emotions that astronauts feel when they are on a mission.”

One of her recent pieces, The Vitruvian Woman, was created by Ashley using images of the genome sequences of the X chromosomes of multiple women, including herself. The piece represents that we are all just code and math when you look more closely. With LeiaViewer on Lume Pad 2, she is able to spin the piece around 360° and show it to stakeholders in a more detailed way. She’s also used LeiaViewer to submit award applications since it makes it easier for judges to fully appreciate the depth and dimension of her work.

Ashley is inspired by the intersection of the sciences, mathematics and the overall human experience. She enjoys producing art using the universal language of math, with her philosophy being that “this art isn’t for us, it’s for the future.” Science operates in a time frame of billions of years while humanity, and our lives, have only been around for a blip of this. Her use of Leia’s 3D AI is an extension of her embrace of cutting-edge technology. The Lume Pad 2 allows her to convert her 2D artwork into 3D for a wider audience. 

She observed that people began to see her artistic vision more clearly during the pandemic. “At first, people thought my mission statement that I wrote ten years ago was too science fiction and a bit of a bummer. But then, the pandemic made people think about the future, the impermanence of life and how they would like to be remembered.”

Art & AI

In this new age of AI, Ashley thinks that we have to double down on our human skills and recalls people thinking she was nuts when she said robots would take over. She made her first VR piece, entitled “Unfolding the Universe: A James Webb Space Telescope VR Experience” during covid. You can view video from this in 3D using LeiaTube. If you’re on Lume Pad 2, simply click share and select Leia Tube from the list of options. Let AI do the rest! 

She works closely with NASA scientists she got her images from to make sure that her artistic representations of space are accurate and is constantly finding new ways to take digital art and “put it out into the real world as real, tangible things.”

Ashley is using Lume Pad 2 to make her art more accessible. She tells us “I try to make my art within reach for every walk of life, not only for people who are scientists. I want it to be fun and exciting.” Particularly, Ashley uses LeiaViewer and LeiaTube - two of the apps that come with the device - to showcase Unfolding the Universe. With Leia’s technology, her audience can experience the exhibit without the use of a headset or special eyewear. She works with different mediums because her main audience is people in the future, thus “you don’t know who you're speaking to and it’s important to send the message in many different ways.”

“AI is interesting and more artists should take it up. Artists can collaborate with it,” says Ashley. Luckily Lume Pad 2 includes several AI powered apps to take artistic visions to the third dimension. 

Stay connected with Ashley’s art on her site and follow her on Instagram, Twitter and on her YouTube channel.  You can also find her 3D models to experience on Lume Pad 2 below!