Resurgere: Manipulated Artificial Intelligence

But... "Is it art?"

Resurgere - Dark Surrealism Digital Art by Mario Nevado Art

Resurgere – Manipulated Artificial Intelligence

Resurgere: latin voice for “to raise again”.

I created this and other piece like two months ago. For the time beign, I’ve stopped using algorithms until the sky is clearer. I just wanted to share these images with you and see what you think.

Some months ago, after finishing my series Psychoclimatic Conditions, I was willing to keep on creating emotional portraits. I came with the idea of creating a series of illustrations of people hiding or emerging from things, mostly plants and flowers. It was going to be called “e-Merge” (or something like that… bear with me, this was a working title!) since they would be very hidden or merging with the surroundings. I gathered some photographic resources for it but then I started to experiment with artificial intelligence and I put the project on hold.

Then one of my outcomes with AI experimentation with Midjourney was a series of iridescent seaweed the algorithm created by mixing fish fins and exotic plants, and suddenly I remembered about this project.


Resurgere IA midjourney sources by Mario Nevado

Some of the seaweed created by the Midjourney algorithm.

If you are familiarized with Midjourney, these images were created the second version of the algorithm and they look terrible in high resolution (they have a lot of JPG artifacts), so once I had the composition done, I had to paint over everything. I spent two weeks of fine detailing every single line. What you see is basically a painting done over a rough digital collage from the Midjourney images. 

Is there a way to use Artificial Intelligence to create images ethically?

A lot of people is concerned about the usage of artificial intelligence nowadays, but I think this tool brings something new on the creativity table. My way of using it was by outsourcing my own artworks or by using royalty-free photos as base images for the algorithm to work with. I never used any other artist’s name (dead or alive) in my prompts, I either tried to generate something with my own style or something that resembled a stock photo that I could use as in a photo manipulation. As far as I know, I don’t think that could damage someone else’s intellectual property rights.

But on the other hand, I also understand the protests that are happening online, like the one on Artstation, aiming to ban everything AI-related. It’s frustrating to see everything flooded with images generated by artificial intelligences, and we are reaching a point where it is becoming hard to discern what’s human and what’s not on our social media feeds, for example. It’s very dystopian, if you ask me. But… I think a lot of people doesn’t actually know how the algorithms and datasets actually work. And it’s not how most people claim it to be.

Can it be Art if it’s manipulated by human intention afterwards?

What I am trying to say is: I think most people are using this tool in the worst possible way, but technology evolves and we just cannot help that. A tool is just a tool. Do we need regulations for it? Of course. Our jobs are on the line. But again: It is a tool. There are different ways to use it. I think we can still use it without doing any harm. It’s a new way of channeling creativity. A new language.

In the end, there are a lot of grey areas in this new spectrum that we as artists will have to learn to navigate. I think it’s going to be wise to sit in those grey areas for now. Then, time wil tell.

I’d love to know your opinions about this matter in the comments, I’ll gladly engage into calm and respectful conversation with you 🙂

Mario is a digital artist and art director that explores the depths of dark surrealism to deliver shocking cover visuals for bands, writers and filmmakers around the world. He's also a passionate instructor of color theory and image composition. In his free time, he sings and makes noise on his musical project, Nevado.

Comments: 4
  • Bomkamp
    4 months ago

    Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading extra on artists’ views on artificial intelligence. People is very polarized on this subject. Hope you can share more of this in the future.

  • Sattle Field
    3 months ago

    Hello.This post was extremely motivating, particularly because I was looking for thoughts on this matter last couple of days. Have your thoughts changed since you posted this? AI is advancing so fast…