Published October 28, 2022
[AI Art Weekly] Hey Amli, what’s your background and how did you get into AI art?
I have always been creative, but my background and training lay in the performative arts. I have been performing in the theater since I was eight years old and got my degree in acting. I pursued a career in the theater on the east coast and started a small theatrical company. However, I have always been someone who has wanted to do things my way, so when fate brought me to LA, and my acting trajectory turned toward film and television, I began to lose my passion for the art form. That, coupled with a disabling chronic illness, led me to give up the craft.
I do not talk about this much, but I mention it now because my upbringing in the world of storytelling profoundly affects how I create visual art. Whenever I come at a piece, I come from the deep desire to capture a story or moment of a story.
With the visual arts, I began self-training in painting and digital art in my early 20s as a personal pursuit. And as my joy and ability to act began to wane, I moved more and more toward visual storytelling. It was a way to continue to feed my creative outlet within my limitations.
My journey into AI is very similar. As my disease progressed, it became more difficult even to do the simple tasks of holding a paintbrush or stylist for long periods. However, discovering AI gave me my creativity back, allowing it to do some of the compositional heavy-lifting for me.
But I also discovered a partner in storytelling that I am sure I would have been drawn to even I did not have my physical limitations.
[AI Art Weekly] Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?
I have a few projects I am working on, actually.
One is an animation series I call “Do You Love Me Now?” which explore the toxic narratives told by influencer and social media culture to the women in our society.
The second is a lighter series, capturing moments of love and sensuality portrayed in stories of fantastical characters.
[AI Art Weekly] What is your favourite prompt when creating art?
Bioluminescence. It feels silly when I say it, but it is in almost every single work I do. Even the white charcoal style works I have been working on lately. I like how it brings out a glow around objects and characters. Deep, I know.
[AI Art Weekly] What does your workflow look like?
I have a relatively slow workflow. I spend less time on prompt construction and more on manipulating the images I get from the AI.
I usually start with what I call an AI sketch. This means I will use a basic prompt about the general idea I am going for (usually with
sketch in there) and get rough images. Then, I will find one that inspires me, take it out, and work with it in photoshop to add or remove aspects I want.
Then I will take that image and rerun it through the AI, changing the prompt based on what the image is morphing into. Then I wash and repeat until I feel the story is complete. I have a few process videos on this you can check out.
With animation, I am also hands-on. First, I create an initial image I want the animation to run off, where I want the story to start. Then I will spend time crafting prompts for each beat of the story. But rather than walking away, I will stay with the animation as it runs, stopping the process if it starts to go in a direction I don’t want. Finally, I will tweak the prompt to help guide it where I want and restart the process. This gives me more control over the story I want to tell.
[AI Art Weekly] How do you feel AI (art) will be impacting society?
Wow, that is a whopper of a question that I’m not sure can be answered at any given time. It is an ever-evolving question, and evolving at such a rate as to be mindblowing. I co-host a space with @bl_artcult called “The New Renaissance” where we address this and other questions every Wednesday at 12 pm PT.
My HOPE with AI art is that it will completely change our cultural, and artistic narrative by helping break down the gatekeeping that has surrounded the arts since… well… ever.
I think we often forget that the pursuit of art is a pursuit of the privileged. You need money and time. Even if you are self-teaching, you need time, which the disenfranchised communities of our society do not have.
When Stability brought AI to the masses, I remember a short debate over the excess of naked white women portrayed by the tool. People called the tool racist or sexist (as if it could be). What many people don’t think about is how these tools mirror what we as a society have believed art “looks like.”
In a nutshell, they are trained on our artistic history and therefore overtrained on naked white women since privileged white men have created most art. Of course, these are all broad statements, and there is a lot to unpack there, which we could talk about for hours, but I won’t for the sake of the readers time.
My point is that when these tools first came out, I was hopeful that they would break open the barrier-of-entry to art and that we would finally see the untold stories and perspectives of an entire swath of our society that has so far been missing.
I still believe that these tools could help in that direction, at the very least I see them being of great value to the disabled. But the general trend now is one of once again embracing monetary gatekeeping. As a result, the tools and equipment needed to run AI are becoming less and less affordable. But, I do believe the barrier is still lower than it was, so I am still hopeful.
[AI Art Weekly] Who is your favourite artist?
I don’t know if I have a favourite artist, as much as I have favourite pieces. Currently, my favourite piece is the following by @_MemoryMod_.
[AI Art Weekly] Anything else you would like to share?
Ohh don’t give me an open-ended question like this; I will ramble!
I will end with two things that I believe are causing burnout in the community.
There is a lot of vitriol from both sides of the AI art debate and we need to start stepping back from interacting with these discussions. Instead of trying to defend ourselves and shout our ‘worth’ to the masses, we should show our worth through our work. Every time we interact with those spouting hate on social media, all we are doing is fueling their fire and upsetting ourselves. Obviously, some conversations still need to happen, and if there are people genuinely having those and not just spouting hate, then I do believe engagement is essential. The ethical use of these tools will be an ongoing and vital discussion, for example. But when it comes to trolls and hate - block, block, block. It is simply not worth it.
The pace of this technology can be overwhelming. It can feel like you will never catch up, or you are stupid for being unable to figure it out. But we are ALL struggling through every new update, even those of us you may look up to and think, ‘wow, that person has it all together and is doing such great work, and I could never be like them.’ Trust me, you are like them.
Clumsily curious, viciously vulnerable. Digital artist learning and educating about image synthesis tools.
I will do a shameless plug here. I host a twitch space on Tuesdays at 6pm PT called “Let’s Figure it out” where it’s just me being a hot mess, banging my head against the wall, trying to figure out new AI tools. It is important to break down narratives of effortless perfection, to let people know that we are all struggling, and to use our community as our backbone. We should share, learn, and educate together where we can. This is an art form built by community after all, and it is one of the most beautiful things about it.
[AI Art Weekly] Bonus question: Can you tell me about #baconwave?
Hahaha ya. The provenance of baconwave 😂. It’s origin story might not be the epic tale people expect with such a prolific cultural revolution.
I made the following comment in a tweet I had made asking about deforum MATHS:
Then @coffeevectors said this in response:
And @weirdmomma created the first image:
And then coffee, momma and kyrickyoung just started spiraling off each other. I believe @KyrickYoung then posted the first image with the hashtag the next day. And viola, a movement was born.