Sunday, February 18, 2024

Red Hair and Erogenous Zones

Don't worry, no AI in this one, I promise.

In this post we're returning to the theme of pigmentation. Namely the relationship between eumelanin (black/brown pigment) and pheomelanin (red/yellow). Redheads tend to have higher pheomelanin relative to eumelanin. For non-redheads the ratio of eumelanin to pheomelanin is pretty similar, regardless of skin tone. So a light-skinned person will have low levels of both pigments, but in a ratio of 3:1. Likewise a darker skinned person will have higher levels of both pigments, but also in a similar ratio of 3:1. (Note: This is an over simplification, to help explain the broad concept, in reality the numbers aren't this simple.) However, for redheads the ratio of pheomelanin is higher.

So non-redheads might have 75% eumelanin and 25% pheomelanin,
Whereas for redheads it might be more like 60% eumelanin and 40% pheomelanin.

(Again, take these numbers with a pinch of salt. If you want a deeper understanding search some scientific papers on the topic.)

We've made the argument on here before that redheads are a product of 'melting pot' cultures that give rise to the conditions needed for this relatively higher pheomelanin. For example, a person may inherit lower eumelanin from their lighter-skinned ancestors, but the higher pheomelanin from their darker-skinned forebears. So, according to this theory, populations that are diverse, that have light-skinned and dark-skinned people in the gene pool, will throw up redheads due to this lottery of genetics.

(For more on this see here: Melting Pots Part III)

Sensitive Redheads.

Anyhow, the red pigment pheomelanin is also what makes other parts of the body red, like the lips, nipples and genitals. These parts of the body also tend to be very sensitive and have a lot of nerve endings. So given this it makes sense that redheads, people with higher pheomelanin in general, would also be more sensitive in general ..and this is often what's reported. That redheads are more sensitive to pain and temperature changes. That they need more anaesthetic at the dentist, and so forth.

It may also go some way in explaining the stereotype of redheads being more sexually sensitive.

Likewise, we also have the stereotype of redheaded males being viewed as more effeminate. With hair and skin colour it's often the case that fair hair is seen as feminine and dark hair as masculine - note the stereotype of the "tall, dark handsome" male and the "ditzy, blonde" female. So perhaps redheaded males get the double whammy effect. The fairness - low eumelanin - complete with the cultural perception attached to that, coupled with the heightened sensitivity caused by the higher pheomelanin. Essentially: fair + sensitive = very feminine.

Again, as noted above, things are never quite this simple in reality, and there may be factors we're not considering. However, overall, it does feel like all this ties together quite nicely, and makes sense in regard what you would expect if you turned up the genetic dial on redness.

Sleepy Red-Haired AI Art

Another experiment with AI. This time using PixVerse, which at the time of writing is free to use.

It's quite fun testing these various AI generators. Over the years red-haired art has been a recurring theme of this blog. The only problem is there's a bit of a dearth of it; the red-haired images being quite rare. So to be able to simply type "red hair" and, lo, red-haired artwork at the double is really quite something.

Of course, whether the generated clips and images can ever match artwork made by human hands is up for debate. Can such images ever have the same soul, beauty and interestingness? Or will they always just be derivative?

Personally, I feel some of the clips created by the PixVerse AI are very warm and beautiful. You could also argue that the human process of prompting the AI, then selecting out the good from the bad - the interesting from the boring - humanises and brings a soul and meaning to things. Like a very clever paintbrush that still requires human direction and response. I'm really not sure. I guess only time will tell if AI redheads can ever compete for our affections with the Pre-Raphaelite beauties we're already so fond of.

I'll share a few of the generated clips below:

For more such clips you also can check out the following video (or head to PixVerse and experiment making some of your own).

(AI Red Hair Chillout)

Friday, February 2, 2024

A Green-Eyed Witch ..And Some Elves

Another little experiment with AI art. This time using Signing up for a free account gets you 10 free image prompts per day. It was fun playing around with it. All the images, along with the text prompts that inspired them, can be found over on our Twitter page. I'll share some of the more eye-catching ones below.

These two show a green eyed witch with a black cat/cats.

She looks a little bit like Kate Middleton, Princess of Wales. 

On a similar theme we also gave an image prompt for a red-haired Queen Elizabeth.

Finally, this was the image that really had me laughing. The request was for thousands of red-haired elves having a party.

This one would make a great birthday card for redheads. I'm tempted to upgrade to a paid account and start make merchandise.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Red-Haired Art - Through the AI Doorway

I windled away the afternoon today, feeding red-haired paintings into AI software.

The AI I was using was the following one:

I know very little about AI, so it was very much a walk into the unknown. My friend recently started using the site for his own videos, and seeing how interesting it was I couldn't help but have a go myself (if you open an account you get some free credits to make clips, so it's pretty easy.)

You basically just upload an image and the AI does the work. You can also add some lines of text to guide the process. Likewise you can generate footage from text directions alone, sans image. In fact, the first clip, showing a woman dancing beneath a full moon, was created that way. I think I put something along the lines of, "Red-haired woman, dancing beneath a starry sky, with a big moon", to generate that one.

Anyway, the video below showcases all the clips I got for my free credit, along with the original paintings. Some of the clips are quite disturbing, in that AI kind of way. Others are rather nice and arty. Impressive even. I'm actually tempted to take out a monthly subscription to play around some more, though I think I'll wait until I have some specific purpose in mind.

Incidentally, while I'm here I'll add my brief thoughts on AI in general. I pretty much view it as incredible software or data processing, rather than as intelligence per se. I don't believe it is, or ever will be, intelligent in a consciousness sense. So I don't want to perpetuate the scarier hype that surrounds it. However, I do think it's a truly revolutionary technology, that will change things immeasurably. I actually think the biggest danger posed by AI is that world governments will bring in totalitarianism to suppress individuals that become too empowered by it. So I view it as dystopic in a slightly different sense to many other commentators.

..Sorry, I'm getting a bit off topic for a blog about red hair.

Back to the paintings.

Here are the paintings I used, listed in order (many, no doubt, you'll already know):

1) Queen Elizabeth I - Armada Portrait, circa 1588

2) Portrait of Elizabeth Siddal - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

3) Roman Widow - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

4) The Penance of Eleanor Duchess of Gloucester - Edwin Austin Abbey

5) Poppies - George Henry

6) The Sorrow of Mary Magdalene - Jules Joseph Lefebvre

7) La Parisienne Japonaise - Alfred Stevens

8) Illustration from 'Dream Land' - Florence Harrison

(I really love this image, it has that Peter Pan type sense of wonderment. The generated images were fittingly storybookish.)

9) Beata Beatrix - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

As mentioned earlier, I didn't note the exact text instructions I added in an attempt to guide the AI, but with this one it was something like, "The woman is bathed in light, as God answers her prayers." So that might explain the weird supernatural, 2001 Space Odyssey type vibe.

9) Miss Lisa Minghetti - Philip de Laszlo

10) Portrait de femme aux cheveux roux - Jules Joseph Lefebvre

11) Zodiac Calendar for La Plume, 1897 - Alphonse Mucha

12) A Spray of Wild Hemlock - Jessie M. King

13) Helen of Troy - Frederick Sandys

14) Femme a la blouse - Moise Kisling

15) The Virgin in Prayer - Joos van Cleve

16) La Ghirlandata - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

17) Regina Cordium - Dante Gabriel Rossetti

18) Woman Science - Eugene Grasset

19) An Orthodox-looking Saint Mary Magdalene (not sure of the provenance here)

20) The Good Book - Federico Zandomeneghi

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Red Hair in Art: Perugino's Last Supper

Pietro Perugino (born Pietro Vannucci, c. 1446/1452 – 1523), was an Italian Renaissance painter of the Umbrian school, who developed some of the qualities that found classic expression in the High Renaissance. Raphael was his most famous pupil. He was born in Città della Pieve, Umbria.

The Last Supper (1493–1496) is a fresco located in the refectory, now museum, of the former Convent of Fuligno located on Via Faenza #42 in Florence. It depicts Jesus and the Apostles during the Last Supper, with Judas sitting separately on the near side of the table, as is common in depictions of the Last Supper in Christian art. It is considered one of Perugino's best works.

Detail of Jesus and St. John (in other photos the hair looks less red).

James the Less and James the Great also look reddish.

Friday, September 22, 2023

Wholesome Red Hair ..With Fries

This is not paid for product placement (!)

We've noted red hair in adverts on here before. It's not at all too uncommon these days. However, recently there was an especially nice example. Courtesy of the McDonald's Japan Twitter account.

It can be viewed here:

Below are a few stills from the short anime.

It's gained a lot of traction online. Often with a political slant. The theme being that it's quite a warm and wholesome scene. I think people are somewhat fed up and exhausted by the constant politicisation of everything these days. So a rosy image of simple happiness feels welcome, and has caught people off guard a little. In a nice way.

However, the main reason I'm sharing it is for the aesthetics ..and obviously for the red hair.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

Red Hair in Art: Arthur Beecher Carles

 Arthur Beecher Carles (March 9, 1882 – 1952) was an American Modernist painter.

He studied at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts between 1900 and 1907. In 1907 he traveled to France where he remained until 1910. In France, he greatly admired the works of Cézanne and Matisse, and became close friends with John Marin and Eduard Steichen. He displayed six landscapes in the Salon d'Automne of 1908.

In March 1910 his work was included in the “Younger American Painters” show held at Alfred Stieglitz’s New York City gallery, 291. Stieglitz gave Carles his first one-man show at 291 in January 1912.

He returned to France from June to October 1912 and exhibited at the 1912 Salon d'Automne. After his return to America he exhibited at the Armory Show of 1913. He taught at the Pennsylvania Academy in Philadelphia from 1917 to 1925 and taught privately afterwards. He continued a mentor relationship with many PAFA students through the 1930s, including the artist Norman Carton.

Carles travelled to France for the third time in 1921. Although he lived in Edward Steichen's house in Voulangis, Carles often visited Paris. While on a train ride to the French capital, the artist's first wife, Mercedes de Cordoba, met with a young woman, Angèle, and persuaded her to pose for her husband. The French model rapidly accepted the offer and eventually started an affair with the artist. Angèle had long and thick, dark red hair. She had the kind of pale skin which boosted Carles' interest in color play. He did many paintings of her in 1921-1922.

Here are some of the portraits Carles made of Angèle.

Angèle in Studio


Portrait of Angèle

Woman with Red Hair