Looking back at 2023.
It's been a very interesting year for both me & my AI artwork, so let's take a look at what's happened in the past year, and ponder about the eXciting new year ahead!
It's always fun to look back at the last year and to reflect upon it, and that's what I'll attempt to do here. 2023 was really quite a year for me, artistically speaking, and it's all been thanX to Artificial Intelligence and the Deep Dream Generator. Well, almost all...
I spent the entire year eXperimenting with A.I. artwork. I've learned how to write prompts that give me half decent images, I've learned how to edit those images, I've greatly increased my knowledge about artists and art history, and I've met some great new friends along the way.
It's been quite a journey, educational, and very eXciting for me!
IN THE BEGINNING...
Honestly, I don't remember how I found my way back to DDG.
I had fiddled a bit with the site years ago, when it was new and only offered 'deep dreams'. You'd feed an image into it and it would give you back a very strange distorted version of it, often with faces and animals in it. It was fun, and at the time, quite fascinating and cutting edge. I played a bit with it, but then moved on to other things.
Then, sometime in 2022, I somehow ended up back at the site and found out it had evolved into something else. It offered a 'deep style' option where you could merge two images together. Even though I found this out quite late in the game, I became quite addicted to it and pumped out dozens, if not hundreds of these images!
I was hooked and became highly addicted to making these pictures, and just when I felt I was getting the hang of it, Deep Dreams introduced their 'teXt to dream' option.
Like many others at the time, I was quite horrified by this! The new teXt prompt feature really took off, and most of the artists were eXperimenting with it. But the die-hards of 'deep style', myself included, didn't really want anything to do with this new thing, even though we could see it was taking over the website.
I had absolutely no idea how to write a prompt, and when I looked them up online, they seemed complicated and hard for me to grasp. There were artist names that I had never heard of, photography terms I wasn't familiar with, and a bunch of other crap I didn't feel like learning. It seemed out of reach to me and looked like a lot of hard work.
But, alas, as more and more people started using the prompts, and as deep style continued to lose ground in popularity, I finally broke down and started eXperimenting with teXt to dream...
I had miXed results, but to my surprise, I actually quite liked some of the images I was making with my simple newbie prompts. Some of my pictures even got a lot of likes. Hey, maybe even I could do this.
Then I noticed that some of my simple prompts were even being reused by other artists at the site. I found myself starting to work harder at my prompts, eXperimenting with my words, leaving the deep style option behind, and as the old saying goes, the rest is history!
In retrospect, I am so thankful that I found my way back to Deep Dreams when I did, just before they introduced their teXt to dream option. If I hadn't, I may never have tried creating art with prompts in A.I., so I am forever grateful and in debt to them for it.
It really wasn't until the beginning of 2023 that I got a real grasp on creating A.I. artwork. It seems hard for me to believe it's just been a year since I started doing it "properly".
For me, the big transition happened when I discovered who Jacek Yerka was and then started adding his name into my prompts. I just couldn't get enough of him and what the A.I. did with his name! January of 2023 saw me create some of my first 'classics', which I'm very proud of to this day!
It was the beginning of a beautiful relationship.
I kept creating and eXperimenting, and I'm quite sure I used Jacek Yerka's name in pretty much every single prompt I wrote for months afterward. It just felt right to me, as the images I was making really spoke to me. They WERE me!
Then, over the following months, I started adding other artist's names as well, miXing and matching them and evolving my 'style'. My artwork had become quite popular at DDG, and my prompts were being used by others often there.
THE GREAT ART HEIST(s)
I don't remember specifically, but it must have been sometime in the spring that we found out (the first time for me) that our artwork at Deep Dreams was being ripped-off relentlessly.
Some horrible broad from a far away land had taken hundreds of pictures off DDG and was uploading them all over the place, claiming them as her own.
She was selling them online at one place for the hefty price of $4.00 each, if I remember correctly, and then selling them as NFTs at another place. I found over 25 of my pictures for sale on the one site. It was quite devastating for almost all of us involved, (oddly enough, some artists really didn't care).
Those of us who did care though, all got together and started reporting our stolen images to the websites she had placed them on, and thankfully afterward, her pages with our stolen images came down.
But the damage had already been done. I knew that I had lost control of many of my favorite images forever. They were all 'out there', and who knew how many other people had downloaded them off of Deep Dreams?
Then it happened again, and then again. Our images were popping up all over the internet, for sale by the creeps who stole them. ART THIEVES SUCK!
I knew I had to do something about it.
MISTERX.CA IS (re)BORN!
I guess it was around 6 or 7 months ago now that I took down my gallery at DDG to stop having my work stolen there. It sort of broke my heart to remove it, as I really enjoyed having it up so people could see how my artwork was evolving. Plus, even my older pictures were still getting likes regularly, which was something I loved!
But I hated getting ripped off more than I liked getting likes, so I finally broke down and did it. What a pain in the ass that was, going through each picture individually and marking them all as private, but I did it.
I decided I would host my own gallery, with smaller versions of my artwork that were all watermarked, so MisterX.ca was born. Yes, that was also a major pain in the ass, but as you can see, I also did it!
To my surprise, (and delight), MisterX.ca actually gets traffic, and it's growing with each passing month. My "X" Files seem to be quite popular, and people keep coming back to see my new worX and babblings. THANK YOU!
It's not how I ever would have planned things, but it's where my artwork has lead me, so who am I to argue? It was a lot of hard work to begin with, but now that is behind me I actually quite enjoy adding to the site each week : )
It's also been great for getting feedback from fellow artists. They'll see or read something here and then will often comment about it to me, either through this site or back on DDG. It's been fascinating for me, and often encouraging, too.
AND NOW IT'S 2024!
Well, if all of that happened to me in 2023, I can't imagine where 2024 might take me! I'm looking forward to finding out, though.
I do have some interesting new plans for my artwork and this website, which hopefully will be implemented over the neXt few months, so please stay tuned!
Here's hoping we all have a fabulous & creative year ahead of us.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!