Barry Teaches BAIRY

The MidJourney bot is available to anyone. The idea is that one feeds the bot with promts to create artwork. There is an art to giving the correct prompts to produce results that are not just satisfactory but extraordinary and one could argue, proprietary. I will be attempting to teach the bot to paint like me. Below are my first attempts…

This series shows the bot’s attempt to recreate my painting, displayed on the right. The prompts included words like abstract, colorful, movement, jazz instruments, dancers, drums, guitars and bass, and a link to the actual image. What would be ideal is for the bot to learn by examining the paintings on this website while receiving promts from me to elicit a painting similar to what I produce.

Ella by Barry

When I started this painting I had the intent of creating a piece that was specifically geared toward “Perceptions of Jazz,” an installation at the Phipps Center for the Arts. My style is not one that will be easy for a bot to replicate, but that is part of the objective. In order to give the bot a fighting chance, I gave myself a few prompts when diving in to paint “Remembering Ella.” The style is influenced by a cubism/fauvism blend, genres that were prevalent around the time of Ella’s birth which I felt were suitable for capturing the essence of her song.

“Remembering Ella” Acrylic on Canvas 36″ x 36″ by Barry McMahon 2023.

I listened to Ella singing with the Count Basie Orchestra and Louie Armstrong while painting this piece. My mother used to listen to her when I was younger. I grew up watching musicals and listening to the songs of Ella’s era, which lasted through many changes in musical styles. I believe this painting captures the many layers of Ella’s performances from humor and joy to the blues.

Ella by BAIRY

Below is the first attempt by the MidJourney bot to create a painting of Ella Fitzgerald based on the prompts I gave myself when starting the painting displayed at the Phipps Center for the Arts, namely, Ella Fitzgerald, jazz, cubist/fauvist blend.

The bot does a pretty good job the first time out. It is arguable that the images are pleasing and have a good sense of color and form. I will need to add some specifics to get it closer to my piece. There is also the fact that the scale is not what you might want in a painting. But the bot, and this approach to the creation of imagery is in its infancy.

Clearly, this opens the opportunity for discussion as we decide what to embrace from technology and what we simply will not tolerate. For many, art is so subjective, they simply want to decide if they like something or not. Is it pleasing to them? Many people are not concerned with the artist in the process. Clear evidence of that is the treatment artists receive at art fairs and gallery crawls where people trample through artists’ spaces looking for a cheap gift idea or something small to fit in that little space just over the light switch. Maybe, for them, a bot can be the artist?

I enjoy painting immensely. The process is a constant give and take with the canvas, color and imagery. What the audience brings to the viewing of my art is theirs to own. I am often enlightened to something within my art that I hadn’t realized was there when I get the opportunity to speak with someone with whom the piece resonates.

Ultimately, we are in this world together. It is full of wonderful opportunities for humanity to share. Enjoy.