Yamabushi's Horizons

Journal article cover

In conversation with Richard Nadler.

Your style is incredibly distinctive—I can clearly see "Richard" in both your previous works and the new series on verse. Was this achieved through a custom model you’ve worked with?

Lovely that you recognize my artwork upfront - I am pretty happy that my works are incredibly distinctive. Yes, I’ve worked with a customized AI-Model that fits my artistic needs 100%.

What does a custom model mean?

A friend of mine helped me to develop a customized AI model based on a dataset of old Japanese stories, landscape descriptions, and old artworks. It took me several months till I got some decent outputs but it was worth spending endless months and sleepless nights.

I'm curious about the origins of your fascination with art, particularly computer art. How did it all begin for you?

For several years I have been pretty interested in generative art and the history of it. I always wanted to create works with code due to lack of time and in my former job I never had the chance to get deeper into that field. When I once met my friend Daniel three years ago for dinner he introduced me to Hic et Nunc on Tezos. I started as a collector and became an artist after one year of collecting. I quit my job and became a full-time artist. My first works were made with pixel sorting tools. I love glitched artworks and this was my beginning. After that, I experimented with AI models like Midjourney and DALL-E.

I came across the controversy surrounding mid-journey and the new versions of the model, which prevent people from recreating the outputs they were once able to. What are the potential risks associated with using off-the-shelf models like Midjourney or DALL-E?

Using off-the-shelf models like Mid-Journey or DALL-E can pose certain potential risks and concerns, including:

Reproducibility: As you mentioned, newer versions of AI models can make it challenging to recreate previous outputs, potentially limiting the ability to reproduce specific results. This can be problematic for artists who rely on those outputs for their work or for researchers who want to build upon previous findings.

Dependence on proprietary models: Off-the-shelf models like Midjourney or DALL-E are often developed by specific companies or organizations and may be subject to restrictions or limitations imposed by their creators. Artists or researchers who heavily rely on these models may become dependent on their continued availability or face limitations imposed by licensing or usage agreements.

Bias and limitations: AI models are trained on existing datasets, which can introduce biases and limitations into their outputs. These biases can influence the generated art in ways that reinforce existing societal biases or perpetuate stereotypes. It is essential to be aware of these limitations and strive for fairness, inclusivity, and diversity when using AI models in creative processes.

Ethical considerations: There are ethical considerations associated with the use of AI models in art creation. For instance, artists must consider the source and legality of the training data used for the models, ensuring they have proper rights and permissions. Artists should also be mindful of potential misuse or unintended consequences that could arise from the use of AI-generated outputs.

To navigate these risks, it's important to be aware of the limitations and considerations associated with off-the-shelf models. Artists and researchers should explore a variety of AI tools, evaluate the ethical implications, and seek to strike a balance between leveraging AI capabilities and maintaining their own creative expression and skills.

Richard Nadler, Yamabushi's Horizons, 2023. Preview Output. 

Since we're discussing digital art, I'd love to know more about your relationship with physical works. How do you navigate the realm of physical art alongside your digital creations?

I absolutely love physical artworks. I’ve started to paint on canvas with acrylic colours from the beginning of the year. Quite crazy what I did but doing it the reverse kind of way is pretty cool. Creating digital AI-art and transforming it into a physical artwork by hand. My mother has been painting for 20 years, she gave me a lot of advice during my process - I am pretty proud of what I did. Let’s see how my physical works are going to evolve in the next years.

For Yamabushi's Horizons, every collector is eligible to claim a physical signed print by 31 July 2023.

Each edition can only be printed once. You must prove ownership of the NFT and cover the shipping costs at the time of claiming the print here.

The prints size is 20 x 20 cm and will be printed with our local London printing studio on Somerset Velvet 255gsm.

Mimi Nguyen

Mimi is a Creative Director at verse. She is a assistant professor at Central Saint Martins, University of Arts London where she leads the CSM NFT Lab. Her background is New Media Art, having previously studied at the Berlin University of the Arts (UdK) and Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw. She now also teaches at Imperial College London, Faculty of Engineering, where she leads Mana Lab - a “Future...
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Richard Nadler

Richard Nadler (b.1987) is a generative artist from Germany who explores identity through potent colors and provocative textures. His work spans latent diffusion, GAN, and code-based techniques. He is most known for his Japanese GenArt Collection, which explores his life-long fascination with the culture of Japan, a place he would frequently travel with his late father. Based in Munich, Nadler...
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