A Quick Thought on AI Generated Imagery

At some point in the middle of June 2023, I started playing around with the Midjourney AI image generator. I wanted to see what all the fuss was about.

Credit where credit is due, it was some of the things Dubtastic has been doing with AI that motivated me to give it a go. Dub, and a handful of other artists within a similar vein, has long been an influence on me and the kinds of imagery I’ve always wanted to produce. When he started posting pictures of the Giger-inspired xenomorph camera bodies, I was floored. It was his creepy clown family pictures that really got me though. That’s when I knew I had to give this AI thing a try.

I’m not sure where I really stand on this AI art debate though. Is the imagery produced really new art based on what the AI has learned from examining and processing millions of images? Or is it just sampling other peoples’ art and compositing it into something new? There have been a couple of instances where Midjourney has given me images with distorted watermarks or signatures in the corner where you might normally find such a thing on an artist’s work. Are these actual watermarks and signatures that got remixed or is the AI generating something that resembles a watermark or signature because it’s learned that some art has that? I really don’t know, but I tend to gravitate away from those images just to be safe.

Because I don’t really know whether or not I consider this art or where I truly stand from an ethical/moral standpoint, I’ve set a few ground rules for myself when it comes to generating these images:

  • I don’t claim ownership of anything I generate.
  • I don’t intend to use anything I’ve generated or will generate for commercial purposes.
  • If an artist somehow sees the images I’ve generated and recognizes their own work in it, I’d be more than happy to credit that artist or remove the image from my site.

These rules may change for me as the landscape for AI generated imagery changes moving forward.