Artificial Images: AI and the Death of Art

One of the things that I find particularly sad is when fellow artists say that they want to use AI for inspiration…

I have written before about the homogeneous look of Artstation, or Marvel movies and CGI—where artists are trying to emulate a look, in order to get an “industry” job. It is understandable, because the artists are using the same tools and bounce between studios and projects. Artists also spend a lot of time studying each others work and taking influence from each other. My own artwork is not immune to this influence–and in the Internet Age, It is difficult not to be influenced–yet this is not the original meaning of the word inspiration….

When artists say they want to use AI (Artificial Images) generated images for inspiration, It seems they are used to this bad habit of regurgitating the same derivative ideas.– AI generated images are doing exactly that; pulling latent images from a database of billions and creating a mashup through a process called Diffusion. The Artificial Images suffer from an even worse homogeneity than the art that they are derived from, which is one of the reasons they seem so soulless and uninspired.

Many artists (especially young artists who are just learning the craft) will copy or imitate the art that they have seen—and maybe some of that original inspiration kindles their work…But as they mature, their work will draw from a liminal source, and their own art and style will emerge. What do I mean by this?

In my own imagination and dreams, there is an ineffable connection to something BEYOND—I don’t know how to explain, but the vision doesn’t really come from me. It is from somewhere else. It is a liminal experience, like a Muse has just granted me a glimpse of something, from a deeper reality, or world—It is given to me from beyond…As an artist, I TRY to bring it to life, with the limitations of my skills, but the inspiration is from somewhere beyond my self.

I believe that an Artist is somewhat akin to a shaman or seer—bringing a boon to the people from the visions granted to him. So inspiration comes from a special connection to the Muse (which is as close to putting it into words as I can). That is the value of Art, and why I think it is important to humanity.

The AI images are a counterfeit, soulless mockery of art. There is no connection to the liminal reality that I’m trying to describe, and so no message or vision to share with the people… We will be left with just this poor substitute in the place of Art.

Where there is no vision, the people perish…Proverbs 29:18


In 1566 Paracelsus, a German physician, alchemist and philosopher published a tract On Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders. He categorized the denizens of Faerie, known by many different names in folklore, as different types of elemental beings.

The name of the water people [nymphs] is also undina, and of the air people [sylphs] sylvestries, and of the mountain people [pygmies] gnomi, and of the fire people vulcani rather than salamandri.

On Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders

You know that there are four elements, air, water, earth and fire; and you also know that we, men from Adam, stand and walk in air and are surrounded by it as a fish by water, and can just as little be without it as a fish without water. As the fish has it’s abode in water, where water takes for it the place of the air in which it lives, so air takes for man the place of water,in relation to the fish.

Thus everything has been created in its element, to walk therein. From this example you understand that the undinae have their abode in water, and the water is given to them as to us the air, and just as we are astonished that they should live in water, they are astonished about our being in the air.

The same applies to the gnomi in the mountains: the earth is their air and is their chaos. For everything lives in chaos. That is: everything has its abode in chaos, walks and stands therein. Now the earth is not more than mere chaos to the mountain manikins, for they walk through solid walls, through rocks and stones, like a spirit; this is why these things are all mere chaos to them, that is, nothing…

That amounts to: as little as we are hampered by the air, as little as they are hampered by the mountain, by earth and rocks. And as it is easy for us to walk through air and air cannot stop us, so rocks and cliffs are easy to them. And so, things are all chaos to them which are not chaos to us, for a wall, a partition, stops us so that we cannot go through, but to them it is a chaos. That is why they walk through it; to them it is their air in which they live and walk, as man does in the air that is between heaven and earth. And the coarser the chaos, the more subtle is the creature; and the more subtle the chaos the coarser the creature. The mountain people have a coarse chaos; therefore they must be more subtle; and man has a subtle chaos; therefore, he is all the coarser…

…Know also that two of them, namely the earth manikins and vulcans, are considered spirits and not creatures, being looked on as a mirage only, or as ghosts, You must know, however, that just as they appear, thus they are, flesh and blood like another man, and with that, quick and fast like a spirit, as was told in the beginning.

On Nymphs, Sylphs, Pygmies, and Salamanders

This was and interesting book to read, as the existence of these types of creatures was not in question, just something to be studied. The only existential question seemed to be whether nymphs, sylphs, gnomes,etc. had a soul, like man (He did not think so).

He was writing centuries before the discovery of the electromagnetic spectrum, frequencies or even ideas of different dimensions and vibrations, but had an insightful way of it relating to the properties of the four elements.