We start this team journal and blog post by confessing that we’ll be sharing more questions than answers. After reading this, we hope you see the possibilities of forming bonds with people via asking beautiful questions. Warren Berger, author of “A More Beautiful Question: The Power of Inquiry to Spark Breakthrough Ideas,” says that a “beautiful question is an ambitious yet actionable question that can begin to shift the way we perceive or think about something—and that might serve as a catalyst to bring about change.”
Let’s first start off with a big and beautiful (and specific) question that tackles themes of fairness, attribution, and hardwork.
“Is it fair for an AI-generated piece to win an art competition?”
The Eskwelabs team held an “AI & Art” Socials event last September 9, 2022 where we explored the role of AI in our visual branding and content creation efforts. Every Friday social has a theme. We treat these simple company-wide virtual gatherings as opportunities to give thanks for the week that was, try out new online games, get to know our team members, and—like our AI & Art event—explore relevant topics to our organization.
One of the segments was about discussing the result of this year’s Colorado State Fair fine arts competition. Jason Allen, a local designer there, won the Digital Arts award with his piece titled, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial.” The judges had chosen this piece amongst 21 other entries from other artists’ submissions.
When it was revealed that his piece was AI-generated, the internet burst with mixed reviews.
The thoughts above came from Twitter reactions to Jason Allen’s revelation. As for the Eskwelabs team, we are happy to say that we are approaching things with a more open mind. After all, our very own Senior Brand Designer, Bela Lumba, has started co-creating with AI this year. Her process in exploring DALL-E and using Midjourney for Eskwelabs visual materials is incredibly fascinating.
“What makes art…art?”
Can you tell which is which? We’ll show you the exact same slides that our team went through last September 9. Based on the game’s outcome, the team realized how difficult—and almost impossible—it was to distinguish between AI-generated art and artist-made pieces.
The answer key is at the bottom of each round!
How many did you get correctly? It’s quite difficult to tell the difference isn’t it? That’s why we go back to the beautiful question: “What makes art…art?”
“True or false: We are all artists.”
This is the part where we set aside theory, debates, discussions, and instead just pursue the act of doing. The act of making. Let’s have fun and allow our imagination to run wild!
To create your own AI-generated art, there are two tools you can explore: DALL-E and Midjourney. Both are tools that require text-based prompts to produce images and art.
For this tutorial, you’ll use Midjourney and you’ll need a Discord account.
Step 1: Go to the Midjourney homepage: https://www.midjourney.com/ and click “Join the Beta.”
Step 2: Accept the invite to the Midjourney Discord server.
Step 3: Go through the Midjourney Discord server onboarding and then when you’re done reading the basics like faq, getting-started, and rules channels, scroll down on the left side bar until you see newcomer rooms like newbies-#.
Step 4: Click any of those newbie threads. Once inside the thread, type “/imagine” and click the spacebar on your keyboard.
Step 5: Write out the description of what you want your final art piece to look like. This is what you call the “prompt.”
Step 6: Click the enter button on your keyboard and watch as your text-based prompt gets transformed into an image.
Step 7: Select the version you want if one version particularly speaks to you and you want to refine the image more. V1 = Upper left, V2 = Upper right, V3 = Lower left, V4 = Lower right
Step 8: Once you’re satisfied, upscale the image/version you want as your final piece. U or upscaling in Midjourney means that that image will be enlarged and removed from the grid of four. U1 = Upper left, U2 = Upper right, U3 = Lower left, U4 = Lower right
“There is nothing more truly artistic than to love people.” – Vincent van Gogh.
We hope that by sharing a page from our Eskwelabs Team Journal that you, our Eskweloves, feel our love and care. So much joy and thought went into this blog post, in the same way that our AI & Art Socials with our teammates was also intentional. If you want to hear more about the heart and soul we put into our programs, you can read Data Literacy Skillscourse testimonials here, Data Analytics Bootcamp testimonials here, and Data Science Fellowship testimonials here.