Artist Interview - Diana Nicholette Jeon
How has AI become part of your work? Was it love at first sight?
My first introduction to AI tools accessible without knowing coding was Wombo Dream. I saw many people I knew in the mobile photo community using it as their images appeared on my Facebook page. I tried one or two pictures in it but hated it. It forced a "look," a preset you choose, onto your image. That was totally uninteresting to me. I spent a long time in school and beyond developing a personal aesthetic and style; the last thing I wanted was to change my art to "insta-Van Gogh" or "insta-Picasso." Now, maybe if "insta-" versions of Neri, Olivera, Bischoff, or Diebenkorn had been choices... kidding! As much as I admire their work, the sole "insta" I am interested in being is me. So I rejected it out of hand. I hated that I could immediately spot the "wombo look" in other people's work. I only saw about five images out of many that had broken out of that app styling. I wasn't interested.
What changed your mind?
News started coming out last spring about more advanced AI image generation, and I followed. A close Facebook friend got into Midjourney and turned me on to it while it was still in Beta. I was hooked within days. I also used the Beta versions of Stable Diffusion and Dalle-2. I use all three now, as each has particular strengths. Midjourney is the most economical for full-time use and has many tools and user control mechanisms, so it has become my "go-to" AI app.
Technology development is moving so quickly, and AI can now do so many things, yet it's only scratching the surface. In just three months, what I could make in July is a poor stepsister to the work I can do today and this sort of change
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happens every couple of weeks. Almost every new update of any of these includes some new mind-blowing feature.
Diana Nicholette Jeon
There's debate in all flavors about whether AI photography is "art." What's your take?
There is a wide range of image-making created with AI tools. Some works are jokes; some are memes; some aspire to be art but don't quite reach it, while some people are creating masterpieces using it. It depends on which tool, how much effort, etc. It unleashes creativity, but just like having a camera doesn't make you a skilled photographic artist, using an AI tool doesn't, either. It's how the artist masters it and bends it to their will that makes the difference between meh and extraordinary.