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  • Writer's pictureFlorentine Faltin

Creating? Art?

I feel like a short post on how I create my art is in order, and perhaps a brief discussion on whether these images can even be called “art”.

Making Texts Come To Life

​It’s been almost a year since I discovered the world of artificial intelligence. I use Midjourney AI to make original texts come to life. I enter words, texts, prompts and the AI creates an image based on this input. Key to creating great images is being precise enough to allow the AI to create a coherent image with an interesting subject, while at the same time leaving enough space for creativity so the "vibe" of the source text comes across. It's a delicate balance - and a wonderful collaborative process.

Working With AI Is An Interactive, Creative Dance

​Collaborating with AI, I can only influence the output to a certain degree. A good amount of the image is created by the AI itself, which in turn has been trained to do so based on pictures available on the internet. I personally feel that creating images this way is like painting a picture with someone who doesn't speak your language. I try to make myself understood, I express an idea, and they pick it up and interpret it their way. After some refinements, together we get closer to a image that expresses my idea (or rather, my idea of what the original text is trying to convey).

I Use Original Texts Whenever Possible

​Unless specifically indicated, the original texts are not altered, nor do I use existing images to prompt the AI. Of course, I use English translations of the original Sanskrit texts. When creating deities, I try to convey modern interpretations of their svabhāva ("vibratory tone") and follow as much of the traditional iconography as I can manage to include without losing that vibe. To do that, I add certain descriptors to the text prompt, but strive to keep them to the bare minimum.

Two very literal interpretations of original quotes

left: The Great Death-Conqurering Mantra 14 depicts the reference to a cucumber in the translation of the mantra.

right: The Letter A 6 illustrates verse 11 from the Kaula Sutras, "The body is represented by the letter A, the [underlying] flux/flow."

The process becomes challenging when the AI interprets a verse very literally (as can be seen in some images here), or when an original verse is so vague that it has no actual subject, or refers to the reader’s prior knowledge and experience (as shown in many of the images in my very first collection). In such cases, the AI latches onto the first word it actually “understands” and it becomes a challenge to get it to created images based on the interpretation of a verse instead of its literal meaning. Then again, sometimes this gives the most amazing (and fun) images, so you never know.

All The Artwork On This Site Was Created Purely By AI

I like the raw feel, the apparent mistakes and hidden errors in the pictures. I do not strive to create flawless, "perfect" artwork. Human beings are not perfect (well, except that innately, everyone is perfect), and I love art that reflects this. Hands and eyes especially are amongst the most difficult body parts for AI to render, so expect to see some "flaws".

I don't consider myself a graphic designer, and if you're looking for perfectly photoshopped work, you'll probably be better off looking elsewhere.

If, on the other hand, you're looking for work created with passion and love... welcome!

All this said, the big question around all images created using AI remains:

Is This Art?

Is Art Generated by AI Art? Can It Even Be Art? What Makes Art Art?

​Honestly, I don’t know.

It is something that is heavily debated in the AI community, with all sorts of people, trained artists and non-artists, having all sorts of opinions (no it isn't - yes it is; no it can't - yes it can; only humans make art - AI can make art etc...) and endless (i.e. fruitless) discussions.

For Me, It's Simple

​From my point of view it's all very easy: basically, if you think it is art, it is, and if you think it isn't, it isn't. In the end, it doesn't matter. "Art" is simply a word, trying to define something that by its very nature cannot be defined because it has to be experienced.

AI, to me, is a tool that allows me to express visions and ideas in a way I couldn’t possibly manage with paint and paper (my drawing abilities never went beyond the stick-man stage). I’m very grateful to have such a tool and that I live in a time and place where I can use it.

Selling AI-Generated Art?

Since anyone can create images using AI, for free or very little money, why do I sell my work?

​Simply put: I believe the images I offer you bring you beauty and inspiration. I put a lot of time and effort into creating them. Prompting, simple as it may seem, is not easy if you have a specific idea in mind. There is a steep learning curve involved, and a lot (a lot!) of practice and experimentation are necessary for good results. A lot of time goes into learning about various art styles and artists, photography, cinematography, the intricacies of prompt-crafting and more. Sometimes it feels like a crash-course in art history, photography or computer science. Of course, the knowledge I acquire this way is not comparable to someone with a degree in Art History, or Computer Programming. And I don't believe it needs to be.

But, I think the result is of value, and worth every cent.

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07 de set. de 2023

Neuroscientist Erik Hoel may help you further this inquiry.


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