How BMF embraced real artists for TasmanAi

By Ruby Derrick | 29 February 2024

BMF was inspired to use Tasmanian artists, not algorithms, to create art for its latest campaign which saw the launch of an image generator, ‘TasmanAi’.

It felt like a natural extension of ‘Come Down For Air’, Rees Steel, creative director at BMF, told AdNews

Instead of using artificial intelligence, TasmanAi turns people’s prompts into original art made by local Tasmanians.

Tourism Tasmania is inviting people to turn their weird and wonderful ideas into real art, created by real Tasmanian artists to highlight the Tasmanian way of life and the reasons to visit; it’s craft, passion, realness, and authenticity.

Steel says the idea of the least artificial place on earth weighing in on the cultural debate around artificial intelligence felt really interesting to BMF.

“Tasmania's obviously an inspiring and deeply creative place, and the art scene has particularly taken off in the last few years,” he says.

“We hadn’t really talked about that explicitly in a campaign yet, so when the creative team brought us an idea that heroes and supports artists, is a bit cheeky, and feels like a natural extension of ‘Come Down For Air’, we got really excited.”

BMF collaborated with nine Tasmanian artists with backgrounds in ceramics, acrylics, oil and crayon, in which people can submit their most inspired prompts coupled with a Tasmanian location via the TasmanAi website, in the hopes of receiving their own Tasmanian artwork.

The agency initially reached out to some artists who it has loved for a while, says Casey Schweikert, creative director at BMF.

“Talking to them validated a lot of our thinking and helped steer the idea. We realised pretty quickly that wading into the world of AI can get confusing, so keeping everything simple was very much our focus,” she says.

“And with AI news moving so fast, it was about grounding the campaign in human truths and not getting too tricksy.”

TasmanAi aimed to reflect the Tasmanian way of life. For Steel, that's a little more about slowing down and enjoying the process.

Whether that’s making whisky or woodworking or someone running a cafe in a tiny town, there’s often this really impressive attention to craft, he says.

“All of which is of course totally antithetical to AI output, that tends to be fast and painfully banal. So we just embraced that attitude. 

“Plus I think TasmanAi captures Tasmanians’ healthy scepticism. Islanders are great at calling out rubbish, and there’s an awful lot of that flying around in the tech world at the moment.”

Tasmania is a very ‘visceral’ place, says Schweikert.

The impetus to celebrate real human creativity stemmed from the fact that people feel alive and very connected to nature down there, she says.

“But your mind also has the chance to wander. So celebrating the rather human, sometimes wild, messy and slow dimensions of creativity felt like a very Tasmanian approach,” says Schweikert.

“And that meaning and feeling is not something AI can easily replace.”

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