Dakimakura Pillow Art For the AI Age
When Modigliani’s ‘Nu couché’ sold for 157 million USD last month it made history as the most expensive painting ever sold at Sothebys.
Which got me thinking: Maybe this was a sign the world is ready for my AI-Generated Body-Pillow-Cover Art. The similarities are conspicuous 🔎
- Large Format containing the entire figure.
- Geometric modeling where features break up into abstract curves and shapes — put together in lively and experimental ways.
- Iconic series of sensual images re-imagining the nude.
- Relatively anonymous subjects that flip perceptually between a real scene and a sight that has no reality at all.
A dakimakura (抱き枕) (from daki (抱き) “to embrace or cling” and makura (枕) “pillow”), is a type of large pillow from Japan. Dakimakura are similar to Western orthopedic body pillows, and are ‘commonly’ used by Japanese youth as “security objects”. Covers for these hugging pillows are printed with life-size, front-and-back artwork of popular anime characters.
Like Modigliani, I didn’t start painting (Ahem… modifying scripts) until I abandoned sculpture (photogrammetry) and my dealer (Gary Boodhoo) hired models (16 NVIDIA AI Titan X GPUs in a cloud server) by the hour. 🧠💭
Narcissistic delusion aside, let’s dig into some finer details of Dakimakura art and subculture:
 Daki collectors are familiar with the highest quality fabrics and printing techniques. There have been decades of innovation getting the art where it is today and still more every year.
If you’re looking at a cover which doesn’t specify which type of 2 Way Tricot, it’s going to be “peach skin” or “Japanese textile” which are entirely without merit. Plush (sometimes called natural velvet) is acceptable for it’s ability to mask a sub-standard pillow and it’s functional warmth, but suffers in image quality. For artistic purposes, nothing compares with the clarity and stretch of 2 Way Tricot.
 Dakimakura cover art takes on literal depth as the soft fabric stretches over voluminous pillow inners and figurative depth from the front and back art offering different views of the subjects.
Like the covers, pillow inners have evolved from the appropriated mundane to showcase pieces engineered for shipping weight, surface adhesion, preferences in loft, and durability. Otaku attention to detail pays off: it’s striking to encounter a two sided character made plush by a proper human-scale pillow.
 Cover runs are extremely limited and often require pre-ordering directly from the artist or their circle. The only other route to originals is hawking auctions through a proxy. If you can order a cover on demand then it’s 99% chance a bootleg with inferior print & fabric.
This scarcity may seem artificial, but the original artists aren’t interested in being small business owners. They would rather sink another 400 hours into painting another insanely detailed 5904 × 8858 pixel, 300 dpi drawing. Likewise the circles are operating on a shoe string, only able to pay the factory once pre-orders have been made.
 If you are NOT a collector with interest in quality or supporting artists, shop on taobao.com or alibaba/aliexpress to snag covers at a fraction of the price being charged by english-native bootleg sites.
This is also where to go for cover manufacturing: with the right keywords and a minimum order, the same factories will upgrade your materials and print custom art.
Now that you know what AI generated Dakimakura Art is, investigate why on June 6th: I’ll be in discussion with other artists who participated in the “Neural Artistic Style Transfer” workshop lead by Gary Boodhoo as part of the CODAME ART+TECH Festival  #ARTOBOTS!
If you can’t make the day time conference, swing through the Fashion Technology Zone at the nightlife celebrations to give my life sized AI art a squeeze for yourself!
For remote readers interested in one of my AI Dakimakura Covers, Twitter DMs are open until you make me regret it 😉