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Spiting the AI

If you aren’t chronically online [like me], you may not have heard about all the issues with AI art. If you aren’t sure why it’s a bad thing, a quick synopsis is that for AI art to work, they have to steal artwork from human artists in order to mush things together to create what people are generating. It isn’t like they are taking from public domain works, and that is obscenely shitty, especially since of course corporations are cutting ties with human artists to use a machine that makes wonky ass hands and regurgitates soulless garbage made of art that was actually nice and had thought and composition behind it. It’s the art of equivalent of me writing a book by stealing good sentences from bestsellers. I mean, it’s a new book. Who cares where all the good sentences came from, especially if I changed the names, right? See how stupid it sounds when you change art to writing. We call that plagiarism. My advice for this is DO NOT FEED THE MACHINE. Don’t play with AI generators, don’t use those photo changer apps because they are AI also, and if you have Adobe or other art programs, double check that your settings are such that it isn’t stealing your data/files to feed to their AI machines.

As someone who values equity and the arts/humanities, supporting AI goes against everything I stand for, and using it, even casually, spits in the face of every artist who works hard on their craft and is trying to make a living and those who spend hours on their art as a hobbiest. Yes, I will fight people over this. Go use AI to make a machine that will do my taxes and leave the creative stuff to human beings.

Anyway, this is not meant to be a rant about how gross AI art is, though I could spend a lot of time doing so. The reason why I bring this up is because one of my goals for this year is to get back into art, drawing, and crafting. I crocheted like a machine in 2020 (though, ironically machines cannot crochet as it’s too difficult), but I sort of burnt myself out on it. Last year, I had intended to do more art, but I ended up focusing on getting back into writing and really didn’t do anything besides my bullet journal spreads/doodles. That isn’t to say that isn’t art, but it wasn’t what I had intended to do.

All through middle and high school, I took art classes, to the point that in my senior year, I was in Portfolio Art (senior year, you took all of the art classes class) and Arts and Crafts (which was like ceramics, plastic canvas, basket weaving, etc). Art has played a pivotal part in my life, and during college, I wasn’t able to take any art classes because the vast majority conflicted with my science labs. In the fourteen years since I graduated high school, I have lost that muscle memory for art that isn’t craft-focused. My hope is that I can do more little pieces, play with the supplies I have, and just enjoy art as a process. Aka, not cry over my lost muscle memory and rage quit when it doesn’t go well. At first, I know my art will look terrible, and that’s fine. The whole point of doing this is to reawaken that side of me, enjoy the process, and work toward improving in a very loose, fun way.

Something I want to put out into the universe is that I would love to sell planner stickers one day. I absolutely adore sticker sheets of cute but mundane things, and there are more niche stickers I would love to have that don’t exist in shops in the US. Maybe one day I can make some fossil stickers or ones of amphoras and Grecian urns. We’ll see.

At this point, I have Posca acrylic paint markers, needle felting kits, plastic canvas kits, and Himi gouache sitting in my basement waiting for me to use them. I don’t know how much I’ll post about my art journey this year or how far I’ll get, but I hope you will join me in recapturing the childlike glee of making art.

Personal Life

On Supportive Partners

Be forewarned that this will probably be a little gushy. Today is my 17th anniversary with my partner, so the thing that is first and foremost in my mind today is how much I love him and how much he supports me on a daily basis.

First off, let me introduce my partner a little. He is a programmer who also does cosplay and art, though his creativity really lies in 3D mediums (like cosplay armor). He is incredibly handy, a loving dog parent, and my goblin wrangler (I am the goblin in the relationship, every good relationship has one of each or that’s my theory). The Morticia to my Gomez, blah blah blah. I love him immensely and will happily gush about his many positive attributes, but I will spare you all for now.

I feel like today’s post is a no-brainer, but one of the best things that has happened to me is finding a partner who supports me and my creative endeavors. I should probably also define support in this case. I don’t think your partner needs to share all your interests. My partner and I certainly don’t. I don’t cosplay, he doesn’t write stories, but we’re both artists. We both respect the creative activities that we’re interested in. Earlier in my life, I thought my partner had to like the same things as me. I tried to get him to read my work or read books, and my poor ADHD-brained partner just couldn’t do it. At first, I was mad. How could my partner who loves me dearly not be actively involved in my projects? Was that not what support is?

Well, not really. Just as I am not hot gluing helmets made of foam, my partner doesn’t need to read my work in order to help. For one, he is the person I bounce ideas off of the most. Often, he’s just a sounding board because talking an issue out tends to speed up the process of figuring out where I’m going. He’s been helping with The Reanimator’s Heart and my other projects so much that he asked me to draw out a relationship diagram in order to keep everyone straight when we talk about them. While he isn’t likely to sit down with my book and read it cover-to-cover, he is the person who helps me the most on a daily basis, and I’m kind of glad he doesn’t because there are spicy scenes and part of me would be mortified if he read them. Don’t question the logic of it; it’s just embarrassing.

This past year or so, I’ve struggled a lot with self-worth and whether or not I can get my writing career back on track and try to rely more on that income. My partner has been the one to constantly remind me not to get down on myself and that I can eventually get to the place I want to be. It just might take some time. Whenever I mention wanting to learn some new craft or potentially trying to get back into more traditional types of art, he always agrees that I should. Trust me when I say my partner is not a yes-man. He will happily bring me back to earth when I start to spin off, but when it comes to my art or trying different things, he’s the first to tell me I should if it’s calling to me. I think part of it has to do with us both being artistic people who are also neurodivergent. We understand the siren call of a new skill or craft.

I posted this on Twitter the other day, but I think it’s very apropos for this post:

I found someone who appreciates me and all the weird shit that comes with loving me. He listens when I gush on and on about Our Flag Means Death and looks at the thousandth piece of cool pottery I’ve found on Instagram. I’ve been remodeling my office, and he’s gone along with every idea I’ve had in order to make it the perfect gothy oasis I’ve dreamed of. I don’t think there’s ever been a time when my partner acted like what I loved was cringe-worthy or weird or juvenile. I’ve seen a lot of people’s partner’s say things or roll their eyes when the other person starts gushing about their special interest or a new hobby. Or they’ve fully bought into the capitalist notion that every hobby should be profitable, and if they aren’t, they should be abandoned for more serious pursuits. Whatever those are.

It made me immensely sad to think about people who are in relationship where their partner doesn’t love them for all their weirdness and silly hobbies or their special interests. They don’t have to love that thing too, but they have to love and respect you enough to understand that you love them and that it is all a part of you as a person. While my partner doesn’t crochet or write or like arcade carpet, he would never dissuade me from my pursuit of those things. He knows the weirdness is what comes part and parcel with the things he loves, and trust me, he’s a fan of the weirdness too.

Happy anniversary, Peaches! I hope he knows how much I love and appreciate him and how he’s been the tent pole that props up my dreams when I struggle under their weight.