DALL-E and the re-creation of the artist

It’s an almost mundane trope now that DALL-E will obviate the need for visual artists and illustrators.

The most relevant counter to this is to look back at the advent of photography and its positive affect on artists, acting as a force compelling countless new approaches to visual expression. The effortless realism of photography changed the game–even if it was, at the beginning, crude realism. Artists came up with responses such as “vision”-base styles (Impressionism, Pointillism), psychologically-influenced styles (Symbolism, Expressionism, Fauvism), and then progressively further away from realism throughout the 1900s. Realistic and photorealistic works were still being created (Chuck Close’s work, certain periods of Gerhard Richter), but realism was now a choice. Influenced by the level playing field that photography provided, most anyone could afford their own portrait.

Driven by or co-incident with photography, “manual” visual artists also moved to more pedestrian subjects. Subjects such as boxing matches, picnics, and street scenes were added to the more rarified choices of portraits of the wealthy, scenes from mythology or religion, and the royal exploits such as hunting and whatnot. There were similar influences of subject matter prior to photography, but making realism almost effortless accelerated the direction of creativity in these areas. Rather than destroying the visual arts, photography prompted a Cambrian explosion of creativity.

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Three new paintings that I’ve purchased from an English artist

I became interested in the genre of New Complexity in modern music, then became familiar with the Major Names of that genre in both composition and performance along with those I appreciated the most, then–this being the world that it is–found that some of those Major Names are online, then I “kept informed” on social media of those that are active on social media. (Side note: I often contemplate with the gravity of history the fact that as a boy of five or nine I could have met Stravinsky or Shostakovich, respectively, despite my oblivious and underserving status at the time and their importance to me today.)

Ian Pace is a pianist and composer (see A week of “The History of Photography in Sound”) who is one of the above artists who are active online and who has at several times referenced the artist and composer Jim Aitchison. Mr. Pace had commissioned several works from Aitchison and posted photos and, though I can’t find those posts right now, they resonated strongly.

Jim Aitchison, Architecture of Landscape (psychiatric hospital and gallery), oil pastel, ink, and acrylic on heavy paper, ca. 2021
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