5 A.I. Artists Pushing the Limits of Creativity and Generative Tech

Human artists must be celebrated, protected

I understand the debate. The first contact with a generative A.I. tool like Midjourney will make you feel like everyone is an artist. And as a response, artists will say that typing something and letting a computer do the work doesn't qualify anyone. Not artistically, at least. But things don't need to be that black and white in a field so new and open.

Out there in the world, there are some brave pioneers trying to understand how to be artistic through the tools of artificial intelligence. They are developing their style, their craft, their point of view. And even though I don't feel qualified to define what art is, their quest definitely makes me feel like they are up to something.

So I picked a few of them that have been impressing me and inspiring me. Maybe from seeing their work, you will feel inspired too.

José Parra (Chema Parsanz)
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A photographer without a camera, José Parra creates these sometimes impossible, sometimes surreal series of pictures that look absolutely real, except you know they aren't. His series about exotic (impossible) cats and NewBoriginals, with inexisting skin configurations are a punch in the gut. His series about a pink astronaut holding balloons in a mansion got me to stare for hours, trying to understand what was happening there. That's it: he makes you stop. And in this fast paced world, this is always a good thing.

Chelsea Kinley
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A product designer who used A.I. to express the free side of her mind. Chelsea's work brings colors and shapes you don't recognize from other artistic attempts. Both from the graphic tone and the nature of her subjects—always so noble and grand, among the explosive shapes of her vibrant palette.

Torus トーラス
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The universe created by Torus doesn't exist anywhere but in his head. Creatures, plants, vessels of spectacular stature, all wrapped inside of his signature encyclopedic look. A mix of real and unreal, old and new—yet with the consistency and rigor that makes his vision stand out from everything else.

Remi Molette
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The combination of dance, shapes and rhythmic imagination makes this A.I. film director one of the most mesmerizing artists in the A.I.-sphere. The combination of patterns, music and movement creates this hybrid of artificial and natural images that became his most prominent signature.

Roope rAInisto
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Roope Rainisto is an explorer. For a while, his experiments were funny takes on the possibilities of the medium, but soon his humor pulled him deeper into a darker exploration of the broken parts of the artificial land where he lives. What for others are technical problems to fix, like hands with too many fingers or displaced heads, for him are a playground. By forcing the engines to make its most annoying mistakes, his art creates a striking combination of familiarity at first... until the realization of how bizarre the whole scene is. Which in a certain way, reveals both the fascination and the fear we all face when we look at this new future being rendered in front of us.

My openness to A.I. does not mean we shouldn't look critically at the problems this new world brings, though. Like the business models behind these companies that use established artists' work to learn their styles, at a scale and precision that no student has ever been able to achieve. Regardless of the question around whether A.I. art is art or not, there is the certainty that human artists are and they need to continue to be celebrated, admired and protected. Because once we eliminate artists from the art, then you may have nothing left, anywhere.

But these are separate issues. For now, I chose to keep watching A.I. as someone watches a tiger, with the stunned fascination of someone ready to run. Even if deep inside I know it may be too late to escape, already…

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PJ Pereira
PJ Pereira is founder and creative chairman of Pereira O'Dell.

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