Updated: Jun 21

What is art?

This is a complex subject and a fertile ground for debate. Although you can usually recognize Art, defining its very nature is a difficult task.

I've always considered Art to be anything that purposefully expresses one's most intimate being.

Art gives form to our emotions, feelings and ideas, granting them substance in the real world where they can be perceived and felt by others โ€” a translation from our minds to the viewerโ€™s.

What matters, in the end, is the result: how this creation makes you feel, what message it conveys. The means and processes by which the art is created are of little to no relevance.

Throughout various time periods, the emergence of new ways of artistic expression has been the subject of controversy.

At some point, any sort of painting that did not adhere to prescribed academic protocols was deemed โ€˜unfitโ€™ or of poor artistic value; and not so long ago, many believed that electronic music wasn't โ€˜realโ€™ music.

The thing is, artistic legitimacy has nothing to do with personal preference, and people generally have trouble accepting that new things can be relevant.

Is AI Art Really Art?

So when it comes to artificially intelligent art โ€” or generative art โ€”and the ways in which new technologies can be used for artistic expression, it's no surprise there is much debate on the subject.

I've seen some people consider AI-powered art as not being โ€˜true art,โ€™ arguing that the AI essentially does all the job, and therefore it is not a real expression of the author.

I used to think this too. But as I became more familiar with Pixelmind's tools and the ways they can be used, I realized I was mistaken: the AI does not replace the artist, it is just another form of process.

This reminds me of an exchange I had with Pixelmindโ€™s founder and CEO, Adam B. Levine, on the subject.

When I expressed the fact that being called an โ€˜artistโ€™ just for playing with a program that makes images out of words made me uncomfortable and feel like some sort of imposter, he told me that it wasn't about the tech, but my personal way of using it.

That's when it hit me: just like the pencil and canvas are nothing without the painter, the AI tool is just another means to express ideas and concepts, and the results rely on the user's way of interacting with it.

Just like with any other form of art, what matters is the vision of the artist and how the end result reflects it. The interesting thing about Pixelmind tools is that they actually take some skill and practice to master in order to make the AI produce something that corresponds with what you are trying to express.

How does AI reflect individual style?

I'll try to explain from my own point of view. My personal way of using the tool tends to be quite verbose, because I quickly noticed that it reacted quite well to my way of evoking or describing things in a more or less poetic fashion.

With practice, I ended up devising several specific techniques that vary based on what sort of piece I'm trying to make, as well as the general style and atmosphere of it. Usually, I start with a short text that synthesizes what I want to represent or express. It can be abstract and symbolic, or something more descriptive and evocative depending on what I have in mind. As a writer, I find the exercise of managing to fit everything I want to convey into a short prompt quite interesting (and at times, challenging).

Then by using the "|" symbol, I create a separation in the prompt and use the second part to add specific terms corresponding to additional details about the scene, ambience and various features of the picture I imagine.

Based on the result, I then refine it by either adding, removing or changing some terms, or altering the construction of the text part. After several iterations, I generally obtain something coherent that fits what I envisioned. Sometimes I'm surprised by some elements I did not expect, and this gives me ground for variations or entirely different pieces. Here are some examples. The original prompt for this one was something like this:

"Of course, sorcery and the likes were a taboo among the populace; but this did not prevent some from requesting her works. Although none of her customers had ever faced any ill effects, many started to fear her when her existence eventually came to be common knowledge; especially since even those who traded with her doubted she was human. | occult, mysterious, mystical"

I ran it a first time, then progressively tinkered with the additional terms in the second part of the prompt, adding notions such as "pale", "eerie" and "stunning". After several attempts, I ended up with the final version, which I was satisfied with:

Another would be this one:

"The Dwarves had built an entire city under the mountain, carved out of rock. The place was as old as it was majestic, with small luminescent crystals acting as torches, bathing the paved streets in a dim, warm light. In spite of the absence of sky, it all gave off a sense of security and comfort. | underground, urban landscape, columns, arches, medieval, comfortable"

I followed the same process, adding or removing various terms. I wanted it to look like an everyday scene in a living city, so I added terms such as "Dwarf people", "figures" and "candid scene", until I got what I wanted.

That is to say, the AI did not make these by itself, and the creation process did involve some work from my part. For each one, I had a specific idea of what I wanted it to look and feel like, and spent time and energy into it โ€” just like I would have if I were using a pencil and canvas. The process is different, but in the end it definitely is a piece of art born from my own mind.

The AI is my canvas and colors, and my words are the pencils.

Even more fascinating, every user appears to have their own distinct way of constructing their prompts, which ends up giving a unique, recognizable touch to their generations. I'm quite certain this unique production could be considered AI artโ€™s version of personal style, and proof that AI-powered art is on its way to becoming a form of artistic expression just as legitimate as any other.

See more of our original artwork HERE!

Artwork and words by ๐•บ๐–‰๐–‰๐•ฎ๐–—๐–Ž๐–™๐–™๐–Š๐–—.

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