A History That Never Was

This painting of Marie Antoinette styled women and excessively fluffy cats doesn’t reside in any museum or private collection. You see, it isn’t actually a painting at all, and it wasn’t even created by an artist. This image is merely the result of computer AI and a text prompt: Marie Antoinette Holding the Fluffiest Kitten.

Marie Antoinette Holding the Fluffiest Kitten (2022)

To create this image I used StabilityAI’s DreamStudio, a powerful, near-instantaneous (and free-to-try) image creation AI technology, and one of a number of such software. I was impressed with the incredible realism of the images. Sure, it wasn’t perfect. The woman on the right has a deformed arm, and the cats are mostly a mass of limbs and fluff, but overall the image is shockingly real. I found it all a little bit frightening. We are on the cusp of no longer being able to trust the authenticity of any image. Historical-looking images in the style of any artist or any time period can be created in seconds, by anyone, and without any technical skill or design knowledge.

Has the ‘artist’ become obsolete? AI image-generators certainly challenge the historically recognized role of the artist and perhaps the value of art.

Marie Antoinette Style Women Holding Cats (2022)
Marie Antoinette Style Women Holding Cats (2022)

In my experiments, simply typing the text string Marie Antoinette style women holding cats resulted in dozens of similar, yet endlessly varied and highly rendered images (including the totally weird one below).

Marie Antoinette Style Women Holding Cats (2022)

It does bring up some questions about truth and authenticity. Will ‘lost’ artworks begin to emerge from long dead artists? Will we start seeing a Da Vinci Spaceship Drawing, or a Frida Painting Self Portrait As Morticia Addams? Yes. We might see that. To be honest, I think I would actually buy the Frida one.

Da Vinci Spaceship Drawing (2022)
Frida Painting Self Portrait As Morticia Addams (2022)

Generally, I found that longer text inputs resulted in more accurately illustrated ideas. The short query Marie Antoinette and Cats created a few horrifying cat-human hybrids. I tried adding ‘low brow’ to the text string to see if I could create Mark Ryden-like images, and it worked magnificently. The images below have a quirky Cheshire Cat outsider art feel.

Low Brow Style Portrait Of Marie Antoinette Holding A Cat (2022)
Low Brow Style Portrait Of Marie Antoinette Holding A Cat (2022)

Occasionally the results didn’t seem to accurately match my prompts. Was the software shaping the image based upon all previous queries? Low-brow Vogue models in the style of Marie Antoinette in a pile of cats would be a far more accurate description of the below painting than my actual simple query: Cats in the style of Marie Antoinette.

Cats In The Style Of Marie Antoinette (2022)

One interesting aspect of AI created work involves copyright. Generally speaking copyright relates to an artist’s death (for example, in the US works fall into the public domain 70 years after death or 95 years after publication). Additionally, at least in the United States copyright for artwork only exists if a human created the work. Thus, all AI created work falls into the Public Domain, and this means the public now has access to an INFINITE resource. Artists are already beginning to collaborate with AI, using image generators to create artworks and then tweaking the resulting images into their own creations.

Give it a try.

Marie Antoinette Style Women Holding Cats (2022)
Marie Antoinette Style Women With Cats (2022)
Marie Antoinette Style Women With Fluffy Cats (2022)

Similar Posts