• Loveday Funck

Is AI the Future of Art?

Over the weekend, a friend introduced me to MidJourney Bot, an AI art generator on Discord currently in Beta.

I was fascinated by it, but also a little panicked. With Artificial Intelligence quickly creating art from a few keyboard strokes, are artists, as we know them, about to be replaced?

I've spent the weekend in existential crisis mode even as I played with the possibilities created by MidJourney Bot. I am still very much in awe of what MidJourney Bot can do. If you're curious, check it out: the first 25 images are free.

While I am not completely reassured that MidJourney Bot isn't about to hand me my walking papers, I did discover that AI possesses some genuine limitations. If you want faces of figures or accurate wildlife, it's not there yet.

Surreal landscapes it does beautifully well. Often I would search through Unsplash or the public domain on Wikipedia to find landscapes that would work with whatever art piece I've been working on.

I've developed techniques for creating interesting cloudscapes with different cloud images with different layers of transparency to get the sort of surreal effect that I favor with my artwork.

Frankly, MidJourney Bot does it so much better.

I'm creating and downloading as I go as I don't know if I'll be able to afford MidJourney Bot after it leaves Beta so I'm going to create as many interesting backgrounds as I can for further use in my future artwork.

I played some with the MidJourney Bot in creating animals and people. Those are a little terrifying. If you're interested in horror art, MidJourney Bot can create an entire portfolio in an afternoon.

I have this weird fear that what if I'm morally responsible for all these odd creations and, like Harold's Crayon, they all come to life. How can I accept the ethical burden of wolves with misshapen legs and no face? How do they eat? How would they survive more than a few miserable hours?

A few weeks ago, I recreated some of my earliest work, Henry VIII and his wives as bunny people. Out of curiosity, I tried creating an Anne Boleyn Rabbit using MidJourney Bot.

I don't know how much they actually look like Anne Boleyn, but numbers three and four don't look too bad. At this point, I can ask for versions on three and four or start over.

I opted to try again and again, these aren't too bad even if they don't really look like Anne Boleyn. I decided that number Three seemed to have the most potential so I asked for some variations on number Three.

At this point, the faces are looking a little more distorted. Most of these issues can be fixed in photoshop, and the portraits are cute. Maybe not Anne Boleyn, but cute.

There are techniques for trying to get the AI to create better faces, but I am just starting to learn how it works. I think there is a lot of potential here.

My partner tried to cheer me up by reminding me that there is already a ton of artwork in the world and a lot of other artists. AI is just another face in the crowd.

I don't know that that cheered me up, but I am enjoying playing with the bot and I've gotten some really cool backgrounds for future use. I've created some surreal portraits with potential that I think I can fix in photoshop so that they are more cute than disturbing.

I believe that AI will have a definite impact on the art world moving forward. I think it is better to embrace the new and explore the possibilities instead of slamming the door on technology and insisting that we must continue making art the way we've done it for centuries.

New art techniques have always been feared and hated by the status quo and the establishment.

I am going to try to move forward with an open mind and embrace this new thing instead of fearing it. In some ways, it's just new resources that I incorporate into my current way of making art.

New doesn't have to be bad or scary. It's just new.

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