Imagine…

Sep 2, 2022 | Text-Prompted AI Generated Art

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?

Rapid Prototyping

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!

Holly Jahangiri is the author of Trockle, illustrated by Jordan Vinyard; A Puppy, Not a Guppy, illustrated by Ryan Shaw; and the newest release: A New Leaf for Lyle, illustrated by Carrie Salazar. She draws inspiration from her family, from her own childhood adventures (some of which only happened in her overactive imagination), and from readers both young and young-at-heart. She lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, J.J., whose love and encouragement make writing books twice the fun.

12 Comments

  1. Himanshu

    Yes you are right. It is thinking itself i also tried things, but it didn’t give me proper result.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      Do you still have attempts left?

      Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      If you do, be sure to really study the documentation and visit the channels on promptcraft. Get ideas from others.

      Reply
  2. Mitchell Allen

    Anything that sparks creativity should be considered art. We need to wrest from elitists the purview of esthetics. Why let them define the boundaries of that which refuses to stay within the lines?

    I liked the idea of a writing prompt, so I linked to the result of staring at that AI illustration.

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted…The Art of DecomposingMy Profile

    Reply
  3. Holly Jahangiri

    I love the story!

    And you raise an interesting point. It’s not always the elitists – maybe it’s more like the arguments between prescriptive and descriptive grammarians. My son used to argue that photography wasn’t “art.” I don’t know – it is a way of seeing, and of communicating what the mind sees as important. The composition of a photo, I think, is art. Where we agreed, though, was that in any post-processing, the photograph could become art. Even something as simple as the way it’s cropped, corrected, filtered – he thought that made it art.

    The question, then: Is art narrowly defined, broadly and loosely defined, or can EVERYTHING be considered “art”?

    Reply
  4. Mitchell Allen

    Thank you. Pedantically speaking, any term can support multiple definitions. The example of grammarians is apt, especially because word usage, like artistic media, tends to divide people along the lines of prescription (as you mentioned) and utility.

    Personally, I cast my lot with the utilitarians. If we’re sitting on your couch, oohing and aahing over snapshots from your garden, I’m certainly not going to judge the images on the basis of whether your finger was captured, or whether the focus and lighting were on point. And, were you to share the sketches and watercolors you created from those snapshots, I’d be more inclined to heap praise upon your abilities–without regard to skill level.

    I think that is the crux of the matter, whether we’re discussing words, art, literature or chess: if we enjoy talking about the beauty of something, then it really doesn’t matter what anybody else thinks of our conversation.

    Cheers,

    Mitch
    Mitchell Allen recently posted…The Art of DecomposingMy Profile

    Reply
  5. Corinne Rodrigues

    I confess to not understanding how this works. But looking at the illustrations you’ve shared, I’d say it’s art.
    Also, whatever stirs feelings of creativity in us and gets our imagination working, must be good for us and therefore, the world! 😉
    Corinne Rodrigues recently posted…What’s Your Favorite Quality About Yourself? My Profile

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      THIS one fell into the moat, Corinne. I don’t understand it; maybe you left them too quickly to suit one of my spam-blockers? You know me – as a touch-typist, I would never intentionally set a “too fast” limit on comments, here. So, my apologies!

      I think that the AI art is to artists as an article-spinner or AI-assisted writer (like Jason or Rytr) are to writers. I’ve run across AI music generators, too. As an assistive tool, I have no problem with any of them. As a way to avoid paying creative humans for their work, I hope karma bites a few people in the ass. It does make for some interesting philosophical and practical discussions (some of which are happening right now on my Facebook page and a friend’s). Will we obsolete ourselves? Not just lose jobs to robots and AI, but really eliminate the need for 99% of the population, altogether? The wealthy and powerful would still need people to build and maintain the robots and the code, but maybe everything else could be done by them, for the few.

      What a depressing thought.

      Reply
  6. Amy Shafer

    I have a friend that has been using it to play around with abstract dresses and costumes. Just to help her brain. When she sent me a couple I fell in love with a few of them and was totally inspired to actually make real dresses and costumes from them. She has now started a Google folder to organize and have a place to store them so I can go through them for inspiration.

    I am currently trying to do some major upgrades on my house, but I have started to collect fabrics to start actually making them.

    I also have been working on my photography to use on some of my other things that I sew. So I will be getting photographs with people wearing them.

    I do think it’s a form of art. Especially when you can render images more than once. When you can come up with the words you want to use and then you pick the artist style to emulate.

    Reply
    • Holly Jahangiri

      I wonder if I’ve seen some of her dresses? Has she done any wedding gowns? I’d love to see real clothing inspired by AI-generated art. (Did you know that the Aloft hotel was supposedly designed, at least in part, in Second Life? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aloft_Hotels )

      Reply

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