What’s your background and how did you get into AI art?
I come from many years of traditional painting, working mostly with oil and on the subjects and style of the Renaissance masters. My passion was transmitted to me by my family. My grandfather was a surreal painter, he created views of Venice with no water. Red earth and stone-like humans. My father and my aunt helped him with the backgrounds and more tedious tasks, and later became painters themselves. So I can say it runs in the family!
I got into AI art almost as a call for help, a last tentative to save my passion for art and painting. I wasn’t able to sustain myself with painting sales and my day job didn’t allow me to experiment outside of boring commissions. AI gave me the nimbleness and burst of creativity to start anew, and I’m very grateful for this.
Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on? What is it?
I have two big projects ongoing but sadly I can’t talk about them at this time! What I can tell you is that I’m now entering my second year in NFTs and my focus will be much higher on creating art with an impact that will last for decades. I’m closing myself down on refining my message, my delivery and my own unique aesthetic. The best is yet to come!
You talk about refining your personal aesthetics, do you have any tips for other artist on how to achieve this?
I’m currently working very hard on this. I think the best option I found was to ditch the search for cool visuals and instead focus on the message first. I you have a strong narrative you want to follow, you’ll also naturally associate an aesthetic to it. And since you are invested in that narrative, you’ll be less likely to get sidetracked by other cool stuff!
What drives you to create?
I’m creating as a way to let out from my system my thoughts, sentiments and ideas that I normally wouldn’t consider discussing with anyone but myself. It’s a bit like going to therapy but the canvas (or in this case the AI) is the active listener. I don’t consider AI a mere tool for creating, but rather a multiplier of artistic and conceptual skills, and I’m here for it.
What does your workflow look like?
I’m a very creative person. I always look at things as they happen and create my own version of the story. A little trick of mine is stopping a movie mid action, look at a frame and come up with my personal twist based on the thing I’m fixated with at the moment.
When some topic or narrative twist picks my interest, I start researching compositions with hand sketches. Composition was so hard for me at the start of working with AI, and it’s so important to convey a story. Fortunately these days with ControlNET and img2img this is much easier. I use prevalently Stable Diffusion (I like having fine tune control on a plethora of little caveats) but I’m finding myself drawn more and more to MidJourney. Their latest model is so much more coherent in creating the scene and so now the challenge is to bend them to look like a Ren artwork!
What is your favourite prompt when creating art?
My favorite prompt is the one that I mistype or when I have fun matching strange subjects! I always try so hard to coerce the AI into giving me the result I’m painting in my head that sometimes I forget to discuss with it, let it steer my vision and contaminate my delivery. And with AI I mean the thousands of images created by other artists. In a way I’m discussing with them. After all, art as an ever evolving human communication channel, is a collective effort!
How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?
I love to separate language models from art models, but I’m not sure this is just a way for me to live with the choice I made to take advantage of this incredible technology. Reality is, I’m very positive that AI will dramatically change the very foundation of our society. Things like repetitive tech human labor will disappear. Professions will be conducted in very different ways and overall growth will exponentially accelerate. BUT humanity being humanity, I fear the day someone will use ChatGPT8 (or whatever it will be called) with malicious intent. We need to take a serious look at what we’re creating and what the implications will be. I don’t think we will though. My stance is to make the most out of it and help educate others as much as I can on the moral implications on its impact.
Who is your favourite artist?
I have huge respect for so many players in our web3 artistic space, but I owe my mindset and education to the old masters. I love Thomas Cole’s sense of wonder, I love Gustave Courbet’s intense depictions of human sentiments, I love Tiziano Vecellio technical skills in depicting the themes of his time through clever allegories… the list goes on and on!
Anything else you would like to share?
I came into the crypto art space to find a new outlet to show my artwork and I found many new friends, a new paradigm for art and the vibes of a new Renaissance coming from the underdogs and the unchained. I hope that many trad artists can find the courage to take the leap and try for themselves. I have no doubt the future of art will stem from here.