A few days ago, I fell down the rabbit hole called Midjourney. My curiosity was piqued. “But is it really art?” asked artists and photographers, as AI text-prompt-generated art sparked conversations musicians and writers have been having for years, ever since the first “article spinners” and “plagiarism checkers” hit the internet and we realized it would only be a matter of time before someone proved the old theory about an infinite number of monkeys banging away on an infinite number of typewriters churning out the collected works of Shakespeare. Contributing to the Library of Babel. Now it confronts artists.
But is it really art?
So far, it seems to be a decent way to do rapid, visual prototyping of an idea. And the element of surprise, which is undeniably a part of its charm, also renders it slightly less useful. For example, it’s not quite capable of illustrating a whole children’s book. But it could be used to convey character ideas, or even to assist in the design of cover art.
Now and then, the AI suggests ideas of its own. I prompted it for an image of the Titanic sinking in a glass of ice water, in front of a detailed kitchen window garden. This is sort of what I had in mind, but it turned out a little more ghostly and sinister.
Then the AI surprised me. The ship broke free from the “iceberg” and broke the glass, leaving icecubes and sparkling shards all over the windowsill.
Will we make ourselves obsolete? If we can generate all possible stories, music, and art using a computer, will we render imagination and creativity irrelevant? Will our spirits wither and die? Will we pay for processing time and resources while others claim ownership of our work, just to entertain ourselves and not die of boredom? I think it’s possible, though probably not in my lifetime.
Mixed Media “Art”?
You’re not limited to one artistic medium, either. I tried using it to generate fiber arts, clay, semiprecious stones, seeds, flowers, and more. Now I just need it to generate the pattern for these cute crochet owls, as well!
Your Turn: Is It Art? Is It a Writing Prompt Generator?
What do you think? Is it art? Leave me a comment, let me know what you think of this new form of “art.”
As for it working as a writing prompt, I’ve written collaborative posts with my smartphone, Finngelo, so why not collaborate with an AI illustrator? For now, though, I’ll leave my fellow creative writers a prompt in the form of the following image.
Have fun! Be sure to post a link to your story in the comments here when you’re done so that I can come read it!