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Ilya Shkipin
@i_shkipin Published December 16, 2022

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

As a child, I knew I wanted to be an artist. My grandfather and father were both artists, so the desire to create came naturally to me. I have always been fascinated by art history, and some of my influences include painters who create gritty, weird, and disturbing imagery such as Frank Auerbach, Richard Diebenkorn, Francis Bacon.

About a year and a half ago, I was introduced to neural networks by Nikita Panin and slowly began to embrace this new medium as it continued to develop. This is when my career took a different path: neural net art seemed like the most natural fit for me. I didn’t care about mediums or “purity” anymore; the most important thing was achieving my own aesthetic and voice.

The originality of AI art lies in the relationship between the digital and the traditional, a form that is still not fully resolved. AI poses questions about what constitutes true creativity, technique, and the role of artists in society. It also raises the issue of standing out in a world where anyone can create anything.

“Marble Rumors” by Ilya Shkipin

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

I just released a drop on Foundation this called “Eyes Wide Shut”. It is a collection of girl portraits created through a combination of AI and painting, ranging in gradation from sensual to disturbing, from pain to pleasure. The series will explore the line between sensuality and the kind of grotesque shock that is usually reserved for train wrecks or those disastrous moments when you realize that you forgot your girlfriend’s birthday.

“Eyes Wide Shut” collection by Ilya Shkipin

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

AI artists guard their workflow carefully, as revealing secret ingredients will ruin the magic of it. My workflow varies heavily, but my main objective is to leave a trace of my own touch in almost every piece I make. Even if AI can produce any technique and brushwork that you desire, I am still a painter at heart, and the painting process itself is enjoyable for me. I don’t know if it makes my art more valuable, but it makes it more “me” rather than the product of AI.

I can’t share prompts for the reason stated above, but I would say that lately a prompt is just the initial stage, after which the work passes through many other stages such as image-to-image processing.

“Unspiritual 4” by Ilya Shkipin

[AI Art Weekly] How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?

I think that AI art is just the beginning, and people who are concerned about the state of art are missing the big picture. AI will revolutionize our society on the same scale as the industrial revolution did before. Think about how it will affect the running of governments, laws, progress in medicine, technology, books, and film making. As far as art goes, one interesting aspect is how AI democratizes the image-making process. There are both positive and negative aspects to this. On the one hand, artists who have trained for 20 years to become professional painters and illustrators may not be happy about it, as their jobs can now be done by interns. On the other hand, artists who have a knowledge or understanding of aesthetics can utilize AI much better than those who don’t.

[AI Art Weekly] Who is your favourite artist?

I don’t have a single favourite artist, but I enjoy looking at a lot of art. I love going to museums and attending art exhibitions. Currently, I am planning to visit a new exhibition at the Dolby Chadwick gallery in San Francisco that showcases some of my favourite artists, such as Emilio Villalba.

Piece from the 2016 collection “Talk to Me” by Emilio Villalba

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

Lately, I’ve been focusing more and more on music making with my band, The Laytcomers. If you like noisy and freaky post-punk music, they might be worth checking out!

by @dreamingtulpa