Sunday, October 22, 2023

For Cory Doctrow, and Thomas Kinkade


Yesterday I perhaps, without full kindness and consideration of myself, compared my AI photo constructions of Fox and Skunk to the possibly vapid, but enormously popular, paintings of Thomas Kinkade.

But on the other side...


There is an argument that is occasionally, half-heartedly made, that Thomas Kinkade's painting is so insipidly derivative, and so desperate to please in its pathetic scenes of relentlessly idealized country houses by adorable babbling streams under arched stone bridges all bursting with flowers and nostalgia, that the paintings themselves almost turn dark and strange of their own accord. Possibly, the encouraging critic hopefully contends, the hopeless and desperate pursuit of likeability and charm is so intense that it invokes something almost hallucinatory that will drive us all to reconsider...


Now that's art!

And along the lines that this is part of what my own Fox and Skunk pictures are doing, I relate the following.

Last week my darling wife and I popped over to a local bookstore (on foot) to listen to the writer Cory Doctorow. For those who don't know him he is the most intelligent and thorough critic and activist in all of tech. I know that sounds to be an oversized and extraordinary claim, but someone has to be that person...

 and he is.

Talking to him before his talk was a bit strange for me, and possibly a subject for another time. But either that day or recently on some podcast I listened to, my friend Cory was discussing issues of copyright in AI. A copyright skeptic like I am, he expressed his skepticism that AI, or, as I call it, the theft of everything, is any kind of a real copyright violation. The bites that AI takes, as he puts it, of original material, are of each thing too small to be that kind of theft.

But I'm not here to go deeply into his take on this AI copyright stuff, (which says artists aren't going to be the ones who benefit from this kind of copyright expansion, and that I generally quite agree with). I am only here to discuss something my very dear friend Cory Doctorow said on the way to making his point.

He said he hasn't seen any good AI art, though he didn't say it was impossible.

I say that AI as it is, that is, a fake intelligence, is not capable of making art. But, importantly, it can be a tool in the creation of art.

I boldly present my case for this below; pictures so bursting with colors and novelty and prettiness that, hopefully, they get a little lonely and strange and wild. I don't know that you'll question everything,

But two or three things is fine.

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