Success Story of AI artist AInigma
Barcelona, Spain, 2024 — Collaborating with AI Art Weekly, the renowned digital platform focused on AI, we set forth on a captivating exploration of the mesmerizing realm of AI Surrealism. Together, we craft insightful dialogues that shine a spotlight on the extraordinary skills of the Exquisite Workers collective members.
Come join us on this thrilling endeavor as we present our newest conversation, providing an exclusive peek into the creative mind of AInigma.
What’s your background and how did you get into AI art?
I’m from Montreal and grew up in a family of four, where I’m the youngest and the only boy. My fascination with the world of creativity started at a young age, largely thanks to my father’s love for science fiction movies. We’d spend countless hours watching sci-fi films, and the experience of these imaginative worlds sparked my own creativity. I often found myself making my own stories in my mind, drawing inspiration from the movies we watched.
During my school years, I had the opportunity to explore my creative side further. I took drama classes and was actively involved in the improv. There was something magical about being on the stage, where I could create entire worlds that existed solely in my head and then share those stories with the audience. Improv, in particular, allowed me to bring my inner visions to life, taking the crowd on a journey inside my mind.
I’ve always had a highly creative mind and a strong visual orientation. However, I struggled to find the right medium to express my artistic side. Drawing or painting is not my strong suit. My artistic ideas often remained locked inside my head.
Then, the COVID-19 pandemic hit, forcing many of us to stay at home and adapt to remote work. It was during this time that I stumbled upon a game-changing technology. As someone who likes the latest tech innovations, I came across “text to image” technology. I found it absolutely fascinating.
My first go into AI art began with VQGAN+Clip, and I spent countless hours experimenting with it, generating images.. The more I dug into AI art, the more I realised that this could be the medium I had been searching for all along. I may not have been skilled with a pen or a paintbrush, but I knew words. It hit me that if I could use words to bring my stories to life in improv, I could do the same with “text to image”. I could take the stories that had been brewing in my mind, translate them into text, and then utilise AI as a creative medium to breathe life into them.
This realisation marked the beginning of my journey into AI art, where I could finally unlock my creative potential and share the worlds inside my mind. The marriage of my love for technology and my passion for artistic expression had found its perfect union.
What drives you to create?
Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.
– Edgar Degas
I create for several reasons, each of which fuels my profound love for art. First and foremost, art offers me an escape, a way to break the boundaries of reality and immerse myself in the realms of imagination.
Exploration is another thing that drives my creative journey. Art acts as a ship that enables me to embark on exciting adventures within my mind. Whether I’m delving into the intricacies of emotions or transporting people to distant worlds, I find great excitement in exploring new horizons and charting my own creative journey.
“Turn a blind eye” by Ainigma, Idiom Brought to Life
What I find particularly fascinating is the fact that every person perceives and experiences art differently. We could be a hundred people looking at the same piece of art, and not one of us will see or feel the exact same thing. This aspect of art drives me to express my unique perspective, to invite people into my mind, and to share the world, emotions, or ideas as I see them. It’s a way to bridge the gap between individual interpretations and offer my vision to others, creating a profound connection through art.
I’m drawn to open calls and collaborations with specific themes, where we all have a common direction but every piece remains unique. It’s in these collaborative efforts that I get to share my distinctive visions, adding my brushstroke to a collective masterpiece while retaining the individuality of my perspective.
Throughout my creative journey, I’ve undergone various phases, each contributing to my growth and evolution as an artist. Lately, I’ve discovered a newfound inspiration in idiomatic expressions. These are the everyday phrases used by many, each laden with its own rich cultural and linguistic implications. This new fascination has driven me to breathe life into these word expressions, find their hidden meanings, and showcase the images hidden within the words we often take for granted.
What does your workflow look like?
Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.
– Pablo Picasso
Inspiration for my art comes from all around me, whether it’s a random sentence on the radio, a scene from a movie, a conversation in my Twitter DM group, an image in my social media feed, or even the sounds I hear. These ideas and stories constantly pop into my head, especially when I’m driving, and I’m a highly visual person, so everything in my surroundings triggers my creativity.
My creative workflow has evolved significantly, in parallel with the growth of AI tools. In the past, using Disco Diffusion, I would generate a collection of sample images, usually ranging from 15 to 30, and then sift through them to select a handful that resonated with me the most. What followed is a process where I’d copy and paste these chosen images into Paint, piecing them together like a collage to create a foundational image. This collage became the “initial image,” which I’d feed back into Disco Diffusion, repeating the process until I achieved the desired artwork. I created a video documenting this process, particularly during a time when the legitimacy of AI art was under scrutiny.
Today, my primary tool of choice is Midjourney, offering a range of features such as
/blend, and the ability to pan images in different directions. These functionalities essentially replicate the workflow I utilised with Disco Diffusion, but now they’re integrated into a single place.
I typically start with keywords related to the idea I’m exploring, with prompts like “photorealistic” and “surrealism”. I generate around 20 images using these keywords and then blend up to five that stand out as promising. From this blended selection, I create another set of approximately 20 images. Once I sense that I’m moving in the right direction, I employ the
/describe feature, which generates new prompts. I integrate parts of these prompts, in addition to the initial keywords, to dig deeper into the image I’m working with. This process leads to the generation of up to 100 images, while the variation features allow me to fine-tune the piece. As I approach the final result, I often create another 20 or so versions of the piece with subtle variations.
The time it takes to create a piece can vary significantly, with some taking just a couple of hours, while others may demand a week of work to achieve the desired result. This workflow often involves constant adjustments, whether it’s refining the prompt or even starting from scratch to find the perfect image.
How do you imagine AI (art) will be impacting society in the near future?
We’re in the midst of a colossal shift where AI is tearing down walls and redefining how we free our creative spirits. MOMA’s display of Refik Anadol’s “Unsupervised” is a striking example of AI’s seismic impact on the art realm. The acknowledgment and embrace of AI-generated art by renowned institutions signal a pivotal juncture. It’s not a passing fad; it’s a fundamental overhaul of how we perceive and dive into creativity. We’re not bystanders; we’re active contributors to this creative revolution, and the adventure has just commenced. As technology advances, the fusion of AI and art will embed itself even more deeply in our cultural fabric, unveiling fresh avenues for artistic expression that were once beyond imagination.
The art challenges the technology, and the technology inspires the art.
– John Lasseter
Who is your favourite artist?
Playing the “Magic the gathering“ card game was a gateway to a realm of my artistic curiosity. I was Introduced to the Odyssey set through a local league back in 2001, the 350 cards set showcased a diverse array of artwork from incredibly talented artists. Among my favorites from that era were visionaries like Gary Ruddell, Scott M. Fischer, Darren Bader, Adam Rex, Greg Rutkowski, and Seb McKinnon. Their illustrations were true masterpieces, capturing my imagination and becoming a source of inspiration.
In the realm of more traditional art, the giants who have left a mark on me include Rembrandt, Claude Monet, Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte, Salvador Dalí, and Andy Warhol. These artistic maestros, each in their era, have inspired millions and shaped my perspective on art.
In the contemporary sphere, my daily sources of artistic inspiration are the modern masters and some incredible friends. BLAC, DeltaSauce, Claire Silver, DVK the artist, Ren AI, Charlesai, Sean Mundy, Le Moon, DocT, Historic-Crypto, Beeple, and many more are the artists whose work I follow. Each one contributes to the art world with their unique styles and creativity.
Creativity is contagious, pass it on.
– Albert Einstein
What is your favourite prompt when creating art?
Creating art is a journey of evolution, and my approach to prompting has changed significantly over the years. In the days of Disco Diffusion and Stable Diffusion, the process involved a multitude of modifiers such as medium, detail, and artist, coupled with use of negative prompts like dof, blur, sharpen, and artifacts. These steps were crucial, accompanied by fine-tuning various settings.
However, with the advent of powerful tools like MidJourney, my focus has shifted towards refining prompts, exploring variations, and blending elements to bring my pieces to life. In my current Idiom phase, a typical prompt might look something like this:
/imagine: 1990s style photo, surrealist photography candid, dreamlike, avant-garde, everyday life people, When life gives you lemons, make lemonade, satire, surrealism, idioms candid, action shot --q 5 --ar 10:14
This particular prompt served for a piece featured in the “Moment” at the AI Surrealism World. It shows the precision and expressiveness that advanced tools offer, allowing me to focus more on the art and less on settings. The evolution in my prompting style follows the continuous innovation in AI art tools, providing artists with greater freedom to shape their concepts into reality.
Do you have a specific project you’re currently working on?
I’m currently working on several projects. First and foremost, the “Moment” on Foundation in collaboration with Superchief Gallery NFT, featuring an exclusive collection of 60 one-of-a-kind AI artworks. This project, a part of the #AISurrealism collection, is a collaborative effort curated by the talented Anna Dart and Roger Haus, founders and curators at Exquisite Workers.
In addition, I’m excited to be part of the Strange History collective, under the leadership of the visionary Historic-Crypto. Our recent project, the Grande Armée showcase on Joyn, features an impressive collection of 113 Napoleonic artworks — the largest ever on the platform. Additionally, I’m proud to share that the Strange History world on Foundation has recently reached 30 ETH in sales, with over 144 pieces sold. Strange History explores the intriguing “what if” scenarios of history, whether in the past or future, and I’m thrilled to have sold pieces in this world.
Furthermore, I’m part of the Montage project by Sloika.xyz on SuperRare, where I had the privilege of minting some of my idiom pieces. The response to this open call has been inspiring, and it’s a testament to the growing recognition of AI art in mainstream platforms.
On Foundation, I’ve recently dropped a visually captivating collection titled “Everyday Life of a Degen.” It’s a blind mint collection exploring the theme of cult-like behaviours in everyday scenarios, offering a unique perspective on societal norms.
One of my most significant ongoing projects is the “RAW Stable Diffusion” collection on Objkt. Consisting of 1/1 unique AI-generated pieces, this collection represents the raw essence of my exploration with Stable Diffusion. With 463 pieces created so far, each piece is an unaltered expression of AI creativity. It’s been incredible to witness the engagement, with 130 collectors already enjoying these unique artworks, and I continue to add new pieces to the collection regularly.
Would you tell us about the AI Surrealism exhibition in NYC?
The AI Surrealism exhibition in NYC was truly extraordinary, showcasing some of the finest artists in the AI art space. It was an honour to contribute two of my early idiom pieces, “Break a Leg” and “Raining cats and dogs” to the event.
Although I couldn’t be there in person, I had the opportunity to experience the venue earlier in April during NFT NYC 2023. The location at The Oculus at Westfield World Trade Center is an engineering marvel, adding another layer of brilliance to the event.
Organising such a spectacular exhibition is no small feat, and I want to extend my congratulations to Superchief Gallery NFT and a special shoutout to Anna Dartfrom Exquisite Workers, whose incredible work behind the scenes ensured that everything ran smoothly. It was a fantastic event, and I’m grateful to be part of the vibrant AI art community.
What does it mean to be an AI Surrealist for you in the times we live in?
Being an AI Surrealist in the present times signifies embracing a new frontier of artistic expression. It’s about pushing the boundaries of creativity and exploring the uncharted territories where artificial intelligence and human imagination converge. In a world rapidly shaped by technological advancements, being an AI Surrealist means harnessing the power of algorithms to breathe life into unique visions. It’s a journey of constant evolution, navigating the intersection of tradition and innovation, where the canvas is limitless, and the creative process is redefined. As an AI Surrealist, I find myself contributing to a movement that not only challenges conventional notions of art but also fosters a global community connected by the pursuit of imaginative possibilities. It’s an exhilarating endeavour, and I believe we’re witnessing the dawn of a new era in artistic expression.
Art should comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable.
Would you like to share anything else?
In this transformative era of AI art, we stand at the threshold of a second Renaissance, a time where creativity knows no bounds. To all the aspiring artists and curious minds out there, remember this: Embrace your uniqueness, stay true to your vision, and don’t be disheartened by the naysayers. We are pioneers in a new frontier of art, where imagination is limitless, and the canvas is boundless. Be yourself, be curious, and let your creativity soar. The journey has just begun, and you’re an integral part of this exciting chapter in the history of art.
This interview was originally published in AI Art Weekly issue 64. Image courtesy of Dreaming Tulpa
Thanks so much to AI Art Weekly for making this interview possible together with Exqusite Workers. Thanks QuantumSpirit for chatting with us. And thanks to you for reading. If you find this article useful, please consider sharing with your favorite AI friends and fellow AI communities. They will love it!
Meet the artist: AInigma
Organizer: AI Art Weekly
Organizer: Exquisite Workers
Do you have any questions?
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