Sunday, January 28, 2024

Respectfully Resurrect

As an artist and tech-savvy individual, my surprising journey into the world of Vincent van Gogh took an unexpected turn when I delved into the realm of artificial intelligence. Little did I know that my exploration would lead to a captivating endeavor – creating images of Van Gogh as if he had never left us, but instead continued his artistic journey in Paris. 

The Starry Night, Vincent van Gogh, 1889

AI interpretation
Years ago, then as a student in art college, my fascination with Van Gogh's unique style and emotive use of color prompted me to study his life and work in detail. Van Gogh´s turbulent and tragically short life as a Dutch post-impressionist painter left an indelible mark on the art world. His emotionally charged brushstrokes and vibrant color palette spoke volumes about his inner struggles and passion for art. 

AI interpretation of Vincent in Paris if he had not died age 37

Armed with the tools of our digital age, I decided to take my exploration a step further. Using AI technology, I began recreating the style of Van Gogh's iconic paintings, seeking to understand his techniques and immerse myself in the creative process that defined his legacy.

A unexpected breakthrough came when I started to ponder a fascinating "what if" scenario: What if Van Gogh hadn't met his untimely end in 1890, and instead, he had recovered from his mental health struggles to continue his artistic journey? The idea of creating images of a later-in-life Van Gogh living in Paris, a city synonymous with artistic inspiration, ignited my imagination.

AI interpretation

With the help of advanced AI algorithms, I embarked on a journey to visualize a hypothetical continuation of Van Gogh's life while also imagining the artistic evolution he might have undergone in a different timeline. What if Vincent had met with some success as an artist, like many of the impressionist painters that came before him? What if his brother Theo, an art dealer, had been fortunate selling the many paintings Vincent produced?

As I brought Van Gogh back to life through digital art, I couldn't help but marvel at the possibilities technology offered to reinterpret and extend the legacies of revered artists.
In this alternate reality, I envisioned Van Gogh thriving in the vibrant Parisian art scene, surrounded by fellow creatives and finding new inspiration in the city of lights. The result was a collection of images that blended the familiar with the speculative, providing a glimpse into the "what could have been" of Van Gogh's artistic journey.

AI interpretation of Vincent in Paris; successful artist. His brother Theo acting as his dealer.

Studying Van Gogh through the lens of AI not only deepened my appreciation for his art but also allowed me to play a part in crafting a unique narrative for one of history's most celebrated artists. In the realm of creative exploration, the intersection of art and technology continues to open new doors, offering a chance to reimagine and extend the legacies of those who have left an indelible mark on the canvas of history.

I would not mind if after I died, someone wished to respectfully resurrect me and my life work . . . perhaps I would be honored.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

She Is Gone

Once in a while I pull out the leash to walk our two dogs to neighboring fields in the afternoon. They love it. When Mali Nalli, our Xoloitzcuintle, hears the word “walk” and sees the leash she goes frantic with happiness, jumping in the air with all four feet off the ground. Avión, our adopted stray boy gets excited too, whimpering in delight, then running to the front gate.

There are a couple dog packs nearby, so I have to guard MaliNalli until we are in the clear, then I can take the leash off. She loves to playfully attack Avión as we walk.

Mali Nalli
Recently, I walked with the dogs at close to 5 PM to the usual place⏤a corn field that is now just cut dried stalks and dry earth. We have to follow a couple dirt roads to get there. I turned into the field and decided to go left instead of the usual right in order to explore a different view. After maybe 100 feet, I turned to see Avión by my side, but Mali Nalli was nowhere to be seen. I whistled, which is her cue to come to me. Nothing. Concerned, I went to the road thinking she had found something interesting that had been thrown there. I whistled loudly but no response. 
Soon I became rather frightened as my mind began running with various possibilities⏤none of them good. My biggest fear was she had been stolen by somebody who saw her. She is beautiful, in good shape and her breed is famous in Mexico. Stuff like that happens. In the news lately has been the disappearance of a beautiful young woman in training to be a doctor who left work at a local hospital one night and has been missing ever since.

I walked around whistling, with heart pounding as I thought about telling Amy who was busy making dinner at home. She would have a heart attack I thought. 

I reluctantly started back to the house, Avión beside me. “Where is she?” I said, hoping he would lead me to her. He stayed by my side. At a nearby home I walked into the property looking. Several young men were outside working. I asked in my broken Spanish, saying “Where is my little dog? She is gone.” They had not seen her. I harbored faint suspicions, as I turned to go home. 

Avión and I reached our locked gate. As I opened it, Mali Nalli began barking from inside the house! She appeared at the window, barking excitedly. I almost cried with relief. WTF? I thought. Inside, Amy said, “She came charging in without you. I was worried.” 
I said, “I thought something bad happened. She disappeared. I went calling her but she was nowhere to be found. I thought she had been stolen.”  
Both of us stood there, flabbergasted until I looked at the clock and saw it was just past 5. Amy had been home making dinner, and 5 PM is when the dogs are fed each day.
“She came home for dinner!” I said.
“How did she get in past the locked gate?” Amy asked.

We both laughed with relief, realizing what most likely had happened and that we had our family together safe and sound.

Sunday, January 14, 2024

Positive or Negative

People are split whether to be positive or negative about my AI creations. As with anything new and revolutionary, resistance occurs. When automobiles were first introduced, there was resistance from people who were accustomed to horse-drawn carriages. Some considered cars noisy, dangerous, and disruptive to the established way of life. In the early days of the internet, there were concerns about privacy, security, and skepticism about its utility. Some people saw it as a passing fad, while others were worried about the potential negative impacts. When television sets became widely available, there were concerns about the impact on family life, the potential for mindless entertainment, and the fear that it would discourage people from reading. I could go on: vaccines, electricity, personal computers, mobile phones, etc.

I am not replacing my studio art with AI. To explore the vast realm of possibilities generating images using artificial intelligence is but another creative venue. I am experimenting and gaining knowledge, skills, ideas and more. 

As I share images, especially on Facebook, I find there is a split among people  who love or hate it. Some actually like the stuff but on “moral” grounds take issues with it. Oh well, as the saying goes, “To thyself be true.” A big part of myself is adventurer . . .

All of the work shown was produced with AI then hand edited with photoshop.

Sunday, January 07, 2024

Debating Artificial Intelligence

I have begun exploring the vast terrain of material available online, and the uncanny abilities of artificial intelligence to construct imagery according to my prompts.

I mean to explore possibilities and dilemmas infusing AI to produce artistic visual imagery. I have thrown myself into the AI world and published a few results online on Facebook in my feed and in group forums and immediately there has been great debate initiated. Reactions have been strikingly polar. Images I have posted have been met with surprise, love and glee. Also, vehemence, hatred and fear.  It seems I have been through this before during the course of my artistic journey in life. I am thinking of my HangUps series of paintings and more recently, my skeleton art.

Big Mac Hangup, oil on linen, 2004

Los Jugadores de Tarjeta, oil on canvas, 2023

If I were not to share the product of my pursuit, there would be no discussion. I am not going to quote some of the negative comments I have received after posting a few AI images I authored.
This is a succinct explanation offered by AI in response to my inquiry:

Why are people against AI artwork?

The attitudes toward AI-generated artwork vary, and not everyone is against it. However, some people express concerns or reservations for several reasons:
1. Authenticity and Creativity Concerns: Some argue that true creativity involves emotions, intuition, and personal experiences, elements that are considered unique to human beings. They may feel that AI lacks the genuine creativity and emotional depth found in human-generated art.
2. Job Displacement: There are concerns about the impact of AI on traditional artistic professions. If AI can generate artwork efficiently, some worry that it might replace human artists, leading to job displacement in the creative industries.
3. Ethical Considerations: There are ethical concerns related to ownership and attribution. For example, questions may arise about who owns the rights to AI-generated art, and how credit should be given when the creation involves both human and machine collaboration.
4. Loss of Human Touch: Some people appreciate the imperfections and personal touch in human-created art. AI-generated art, being algorithmically precise, might be perceived as lacking the warmth and unique touch that comes from the human hand.
5. Concerns about Bias: If the AI algorithms are trained on biased datasets, there is a risk that the generated artwork may reflect or perpetuate existing biases present in the training data.
6. Devaluation of Traditional Artistry: Critics argue that the ease with which AI can produce art might lead to a devaluation of traditional artistic skills and craftsmanship, as people may start to prioritize the convenience of AI-generated art over handmade or traditionally crafted pieces.
It's important to note that these concerns are not universally held, and many see the potential for AI to complement human creativity rather than replace it. AI-generated art has also been celebrated for its innovative and unique qualities. As technology continues to advance, ongoing discussions about the ethical, societal, and artistic implications of AI in various fields, including art, are likely to persist.

AI creation

I am of the opinion that AI can compliment human creativity rather than replace it. I will add it to my toolbox.
Someone might say, “Use this power wisely for the benefit of mankind and never be attached to it.” Another might likely say, “Let us explore these new lands and see what is there, then make use of our experiences.” Or, as an artist and sensualist, a person might say, “Bah, be gone with this trap. It lacks touch and feel. One cannot sculpt it into a thing of beauty that can be touched and perceived from every side.”

No matter for me, the intrepid explorer. I am seeing this phenomenal invention as a way to further explore the visual world in all of its infinite dimension.

AI creation

Here is a positive look at AI, produced by AI:

Why are people for AI artwork?
Many people support AI-generated artwork for several reasons:
1. Innovation and Creativity: AI can produce novel and unique artistic creations that may not be easily conceived by humans. This introduces a new dimension of creativity and expands the possibilities of artistic expression.
2. Collaboration with Humans: AI can be viewed as a tool for collaboration rather than a replacement for human artists. Many artists use AI as a creative tool, leveraging its capabilities to enhance their own artistic process and explore new ideas.
3. Efficiency and Productivity: AI can generate artwork quickly and efficiently, saving time for artists and allowing them to focus on other aspects of their creative process. This efficiency can be particularly beneficial in commercial and design contexts.
4. Accessibility: AI tools democratize art creation by making it more accessible to a broader audience. Individuals without traditional artistic skills can use AI platforms to create visually appealing designs, fostering a more inclusive and diverse art community.
5. Exploration of Styles and Techniques: AI algorithms can analyze vast amounts of data to learn various artistic styles and techniques. This allows artists to experiment with different artistic influences and create diverse works of art.
6. Assistance in Creative Process: AI can serve as a source of inspiration, helping artists overcome creative blocks or providing suggestions that can be integrated into their work. Some artists appreciate the challenge of incorporating AI-generated elements into their pieces.
7. Technological Advancement: Supporters of AI-generated art believe that embracing technological advancements is a natural progression in the art world. They see AI as a tool that can coexist with traditional artistic practices, leading to new and exciting possibilities.
8. Interdisciplinary Collaboration: The intersection of art and technology allows for interdisciplinary collaboration between artists, engineers, and researchers. This collaborative approach can lead to the development of innovative projects that push the boundaries of traditional artistic mediums.

Ultimately, the support for AI-generated artwork is rooted in the belief that technology can be harnessed to enhance and complement human creativity, leading to a richer and more diverse artistic landscape. The integration of AI into the art world is seen by many as an opportunity for exploration, experimentation, and the evolution of artistic expression.