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My Vendetta

I've literally never blogged before, so I hope I'm doing this right. I'm leaving the comments on because I'd love to hear others' take on this topic as well; I just figured this was probably going to be a doozie of a post, and more of a long-format entry versus that of a regular thread.

Sometime last year, a group of friends introduced me to Dall-E by posting a slew of what looked like memes into a discord chat. Without knowing that the world was on the brink of opening up an entirely new world of AI-generated artwork, I went to the website myself, waited in the queue for what seemed like forever and then finally typed in the first thing that came to my mind—I can't remember what exactly it was, but let's just pretend I was trying to generate pictures of outer space or something equally generic. When I entered in my prompt, and to my surprise, I got a bunch of crudely-generated versions of exactly what I was looking for. So I went around again, coming up with ever-more creative prompts and sure enough, it knew exactly what I was after each time (regardless of phrasing), and once more, it would spit out a crudely-rendered version of what I told it to do.

A few months later, Midjourney erupted and it was clearly the endgame for artists and designers everywhere, because not only could it seemingly compete with human artists and designers in a blind test, but it could typically win the competition outright by knowing near-exactly what the human judges would find most appealing. YouTube videos demonstrating this were everywhere, and ever since then, it's been clear that creating artwork cannot and will not ever be the same again, because a new challenger has joined the match – one who knows what we want out of a simple prompt better than we, ourselves, do.

The art community was obviously ablaze; now, anybody with a few ideas in their head could generate professional-looking designs, posters, album artwork—you name it—and they didn't even have to lift a pencil, paintbrush or [insert any other art tool here]. No discipline, no hardship, and none of those growing pains that artists and designers typically experience would be required anymore.

And therein lies my issue (aside from real humans being out of the job when corporations decide everybody can be replaced with AI prompts, which is a very threatening reality for some and beyond the scope of this blog); if we remove the struggle and the discipline that it takes to create artwork and focus solely on the end result, did it actually happen, and does it actually matter?

When I was about 7 or 8, I remember the struggle of learning how to drum on a practice pad for years because my very-musically-supportive parents couldn’t yet afford a small drum kit to support my passion. Not only did I learn to read music at an early age (it’s pretty simple for drummers, admittedly), but I learned applicable music theory and how to play in time with other musicians, because my older brother was learning how to play bass guitar at the time and we had a ton of musician friends. Within just a few years, this blossomed into learning how to play guitar (on a broken guitar I was given, no less, until I found somebody to fix it for me and change my life forever), learning to write, compose and produce my own music on a hand-me-down PC, play live as a backup musician for others, being the graphic designer to call upon in my social circles and beyond. At this point, it’s not a stretch to say that my life and my art life are indistinguishable from each other.

I’m not a professional by any means (I guess the term is semi-pro?), but I simply cannot fathom what any of this would’ve been like if I could’ve just generated all of this with a button. If I had a prompt and a generator that could drum for me while I played guitar, that would’ve been pretty sweet… in theory. Then I could focus on the finer things in life, right? But then, what if another generator could just play guitar for me so I didn’t have to go through the years of sucking at playing only to emerge on the other side just a little bit better than I was before? All of the people who I used to jam with could just be replaced with robots too, so I don’t have to deal with sweaty humans rocking out in a garage in the Floridian summer heat. And, to what end?

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a little bit of a hypocrite; my current artwork and designs rely heavily on algorithms (both borrowed and created from scratch), random number generators, computing, math, perlin noise, chaos, etc. I create image filters, audio samples, assets, programs, automated processors and even entire songs based on generative means – that is, computers technically making decisions for me, based on a set of rules that I’ve provided it. You know, like a Midjourney prompt.

The difference is, that struggle has shaped my life in ways that I couldn’t even imagine. It has influenced my decisions, my attitude toward problems and solutions, and probably way more about me than I’m currently aware of. It has led to awesome opportunities, experiences and connections that wouldn’t have even existed without those core elements of struggle and persistence.

Can Midjourney compete with that? I’d love to hear your thoughts.


Let me know if you’d like to see more blogs like this in the future, or if it was pure trash!

[[Source image: a photograph I took + an art program I made working together in synergy]]


A friend of mine (also on the spectrum) despises AI generated artwork. She is a designer/artists, and is thinking of setting up a TikTok channel where she shows how you can create artwork AI isn't able to do, because of how it functions.

Regarding your last question, I'm not an artist so I don't have strong opinions on art, but I always enjoy it when members show discuss what they are passionate about. I like having more content on the site, so I am definitely supportive of more posts, but I'm perhaps also not the target audience, and I understand if you would rather spend your time on something else (as the blogs aren't widely read).

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