@blac_ai Published November 18, 2022

[AI Art Weekly] Hey BL, what’s your background and how did you get into AI art?

I’m a serial entrepreneur and the founder of 5 businesses/companies, I started my first business when I was 19 and since then I have ran multiple agencies as well as other startups, I’ve worked in international communication companies, media companies, and have worked with over two hundred clients stretching across the globe and 14 countries. But at my core I’ve always been an artist. Traditionally, I’m an abstract expressionist dealing mostly with oil and acrylic on canvas. I’ve been in the creative field most of my career as well, with a strong expertise in brand identity, graphic design, UI design, web design, and a lot more. I first came across text to image AI generative art about a year ago. I immediately hired a developer and created my own proprietary AI, and used that for the first half of the year of 2022. The AI was never open to the public, but it was an evolution of VQGAN and VDIFF code bases. With the release of MidJourney and Stable Diffusion my process has evolved utilizing those tools to further push my creative process.

An old sample of BL’s own AI model

[AI Art Weekly] Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?

This week I’m actually beginning to drop a new series called False Idols, on KnownOrigin. The series deals with surrealist landscapes of post-revolutionary regret. The iconography represents a societal downfall that was brought upon by a revolt against a global ideology that seemed to be oppressive, but the scenes depicted express a sincere sense of regret through the showing of destroyed landscapes, monuments in ruin and once thriving now silent liminal wastelands.

Outside of Art specifically, I am working with a few different projects, building a startup, developing Community networks and running a Twitter Spaces show called The New Renaissance (Wednesdays at noon Pacific), defining art culture in a web3 world. All of these things are in the direction of community building and working together with other elite AI artists in the space to become the best, help others become the best, and solidify our position in this brand-new field of artistic exploration and development.

“We were wrong” by Black Label Art Cult

[AI Art Weekly] What does your workflow look like?

My workflow is based off of prompt engineering. As I mentioned before I had developed my own proprietary AI system and with that 99% of my workflow was prompt crafting. I feel like I got a sense of crafting prompts and utilizing that process to get exactly what I’m attempting to achieve. I’ve been jokingly referred to as a “prompt purist”, while others may utilize a process of compositing or multiple runs of the same image. Even though I always have post-process work that is done when it comes to finalizing pieces for mint, the majority of my process is done pre-rendering by crafting exactly what I am expressing with the prompt itself. I typically spend upwards of 10 hours for a final minted piece, taking into consideration all the time spent crafting, curating, and defining to get to that point.

My tip for others is: Create Art. First and foremost. Focus on your expression. Define that, refine that, then express with purpose. AI is just a tool for artistic expression, it is not the artist. Don’t focus on building the perfect prompt, build on developing the perfect expression of who you are on the inside, what you want to tell the world, and who you want to become through your work. Only then will you step from being a prompt engineer, to becoming an Artist.

[AI Art Weekly] What is your favourite prompt when creating art?

This is a tough question because my prompts change constantly as I’m sure they do with everyone else, but in general, my favourite prompt would be one that achieves exactly what I’m intending to express. I believe that a lot of my work resembles a sense of Quasi-realism, I always look for the ability to have the viewer question whether or not what they’re looking at is real, questioning if it’s maybe a photograph of a real scene, while also knowing that it’s not. I typically work with publication references for purity of composition, and I also test atmospheres, and other environmental references. The strongest theme throughout most of my work is a the idea of conceptual contrast. Good versus Evil, Beauty versus Horror, Magnificent versus Ruin. Contrast is an important element for me and what I want to express to the world. I want the viewer to feel both sides of a concept, embrace it, and question it themselves. If that occurs in the mind of those witnessing my work, I believe I have been successful. 

“The Cure of Punishment” by Black Label Art Cult

[AI Art Weekly] How do you feel AI (art) will be impacting society?

The evolution of AI and AI Art will impact society as an absolute massive moment of change, and I believe it already has. It will begin to be implemented into every single type of Creative Medium, from art, to 3D, to writing, to the news, to books, to content creation–, to everything. It is creating a scalable process for new creative content to be developed in nearly real-time, at a volume and quality that has never been seen before in the history of the human race – and it’s only just begun.

[AI Art Weekly] Who is your favourite artist?

I have always been partial to Vassily Kandinsky, even as a kid, I always loved his work. Most artists that I admire are abstract expressionists, like Joan Mitchell, and Willem DeKooning. The artists alive today that I most admire is Secundino Hernadez

Improvisation. Deluge, 1913 by Vassily Kandinsky

[AI Art Weekly] You recently sent an Open Letter about AI art addressing media outlets, can you tell us a bit more about this?

This video was produced out of a need that I saw in the community, after weeks and months of seeing creators being attacked for utilizing AI tools, it became apparent to me that this was happening mostly because the media narrative tends to portray AI in a very negative light, which then leads to people not understanding what AI actually is, which then leads to people fearing it and acting out in a vitriolic manner. 

After much discussion with other leaders in the community I decided that it was time we took a stand together, and, at much risk to myself, I decided to take the torch myself and step up with that video for the community as a whole. The amount of support that I’ve received since then has been unbelievable from the AI art community, I have been told that it speaks for them which both humbles and empowers me. When a group of people become voiceless, sometimes it takes a bold act in order to be heard. Since then I’ve been reached out to by a large Web3 publication and had an interview with them, which will be published this week or next. My hope is that it is the first step to heal the community and start a conversation around what I believe to be a better narrative.

GM 👁️ 🚨This is an OPEN LETTER to ALL MEDIA writing about #AiArt. It's time we bring light to the false narratives, and residual hate that has flooded our #Aiartcommunity. RT, Share this, Tag them, and Tag others who will help spread this message. Together, we manifest change.
November 7, 2022 16:01

[AI Art Weekly] Anything else you would like to share?

The only other thing that I’ll share, is that we’re all in this together. This is a brand new technology, something that is evolving extremely fast, faster than most people outside of this community can possibly comprehend. With that comes a lot of growing pains, and a lot of potential pitfalls, if we don’t stay close and work together as we grow. There’s always a natural state of competition within groups of people, especially artists, and so the one thing that I will continue to preach is that the community is what will bind us all together for success, as we collectively become The New Renaissance.

by @dreamingtulpa