@JenPanepinto Published December 21, 2023

What’s your background and how did you get into AI art?

I came from a creative family. My grandmother painted, my grandfather was a photographer, my mom was a dancer, and more. In my sophomore year of High School, I took my first photography class to fulfil the art requirement. It didn’t take long before I was in love with the click of the shutter. I was able to tell others how I was feeling without needing them to listen. I learned that expression through art was my preferred method of communication thereafter.

phantasm(ai) 00” by QuantumSpirit exclusively for AI Surrealism, 2023

I went to Pratt Institute for photography in New York, USA and then worked a couple more jobs related to graphic design which let to going to The School of Visual Arts for Design.

Long story short, I have worked as a professional graphic designer for 25+ years, for companies such as Toys R Us, Bed Bath and Beyond, and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. Most recently, I started my own design studio.

In late 2020, a client hired me to help design a metaverse gallery space. This was my introduction to NFTs. I was fascinated with the decentralized art ethos and shortly started minting. My early NFT work took me back to my roots with photography.

In early 2022, I found out about this app called WOMBO dream. I started using it to prompt feelings before bed. I was hooked immediately by the validation, feedback loop, and self-awareness that arose in me from using this early AI art app.

I heard about the Midjourney beta and got in near the ground floor. I have been a Midjourney maxi since, while also learning new tools as I can.

What drives you to create?

Simply, I can’t stop. I have an almost primal instinct to express through visual storytelling. It is one part catharsis, one part problem solving, one part communicating and connecting with others, one part legacy building.

“Synergy: Nuclear Samurai x QuantumSpirit”, 2023. Available on Foundation

What does your workflow look like?

I work with several different workflows. Frequently, I start with a muse or an idea related to how I feel and aim to express that feeling through AI. The prompts are generally more intangible than concrete. I spend much time honing my prompt craft in Midjourney. I have been enjoying the new Midjourney style tuner, which I feel has made the process more efficient. I also use the blending prompt in Midjourney to combine images with unrelated visuals into one image. Most of the AI art I share relies heavily on prompting or blending and only a small amount of post-production cleanup. I use V2, V4, V5.2, blending together the different versions. For my animated glitch, I animate frame by frame in Photoshop.

So much of the work I have created and continue to create in NFTs are an exploration to find my voice. I have many different voices and use different mediums and styles.

Limitless Living Room” by QuantumSpirit, 2023. Available on Joyn.

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

As humans, we have always adapted and will continue to adapt to AI as well, evolving in the process. The biggest impact I imagine from the introduction of AI art tools is that we will be able to free our minds from mundane tasks, spending more time on the pursuit of happiness and following our dreams through art.

Parable” by QuantumSpirit, 2023. Available on Objkt.

Who is your favourite artist?

There are so many!

Currently, I love so much of what is happening with NFT AI art: Weird Momma, BLAC, 0009, Keziai, Rebel Without Applause, to name a few. However, there are many more.

I enjoy tons of photography from the ’80s and ’90s, especially the work of Lauren Greenfield and Tina Barney, whose work deals with emotional themes.

In college, I was an Art History minor and was inspired by so much 19th-century art, such as the expressionists, surrealists, and early American art. Kandinsky, Miro, and Stella come to mind.

A personal influence is 17th-century Dutch flower painting. My grandparents had three paintings in this style that I used to stare at throughout my entire childhood, connecting with the feeling of sadness in the beauty.

Mostly, I am curious about what drives artists to create, which is one of the reasons why I love being part of the online crypto art community on X and other social audio platforms. It provides real-time answers to learn about each other.

Threshold” by BLAC, 2023. Available on Foundation.

What is your favourite prompt when creating art?

When using figures, I like to use the word “faceless.” I did a lot of prompt exploration to land on this one. I want the viewer to fill in the face with their own interpretation of “who” when they look at the work.

I frequently use the word “rainbow” in many prompts. Even if it ends up being interpreted in a small way, I love rainbows, which represent magic and positivity. I enjoy seeing how AI interprets the rainbow in a prompt.

Conversely, I use words like “dark” and “ominous” in pieces to counterbalance the rainbow, which is how I feel inside, as if there is a constant battle inside of me to see the world through a good vs. bad lens.

These samples use all three prompts at some stage of the process.

AI art studies by QuantumSpirit, 2023

Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on?

I recently minted a new collection called “Midnight” on Foundation, which I will release in stages. This is an AI-animated glitch series with flowers at night as the subject matter. This collection, like much of my glitch art, relates to expressing the anxiety I feel, while also turning into a meditation to view.

Additionally, I am curating an A/R experience with the platform Mint Gold Dust, which will be in Miami during Art Basel and beyond. For this curation, I have been doing a lot of analysis and writing about the movement that we are all in, to share with the showcase. Stay tuned.

Falling Again” by QuantumSpirit, 2023. Available on Joyn.

Would you tell us about the AI Surrealism exhibition in NYC?

As for the opportunity to become part of the AI Surrealism exhibition, it was a combination of making the right work at the right time and having it seen on my timeline. Curator Anna Dart from Exquisite Workers reached out to me with a specific piece that she wanted to curate into the show at Superchief Gallery NFT, which I had recently posted. I was overjoyed to be included. I immediately felt a sense of support from the group that I hadn’t had before with any other exhibition. I felt that everything was so incredibly thoughtfully done, and it has been an amazing group to be part of.

The most awesome experience was being able to tell family and friends that they could go see my work in an NYC show. I am grateful to have had my work shown in a very meaningful place to me personally, as I used to commute through the World Trade Center every day for years before the Twin Towers fell. It was a full-circle moment for me to have work in the new Oculus building on the same land, connected by the same trains that were part of my daily routine for so many years as I went to work.

QuantumSpirit at AI Surrealism, exhibited at Superchief Gallery NFT, WTC, NYC, June 2023

What does it mean to be an AI Surrealist for you in the times we live in?

Being an AI Surrealist means allowing AI tools to do things that are not their primary intention. As AI aims to make things look normal, the surrealist wants things to look the opposite, whatever that means to the artist. Allowing the latent space, or, as I like to think of it, the “dream center of AI,” to reveal itself is the challenge.

QuantumSpirit at AI Surrealism, exhibited at Superchief Gallery NFT, WTC, NYC, June 2023

Would you like to share anything else?

It is hard not to sound cliché, but I think the most important thing for new artists to do is to look inward as much as possible for the parts of themselves that can be seen in art.

For me, art that is most interesting is the art that is specific to the person who has created it and tells a visual story of who they are and how they think.

Second, having an awareness of what other contemporary artists are doing is helpful for understanding what is relevant in current times, just as having an understanding of art history helps to place contemporary art in a timeline and avoid the obvious, like repeating history.

Third, just keep going! Keep making, talking, and sharing.

by @dreamingtulpa