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TiredJadedSoul

Christopher T. Shields
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Thank you, thank you, thank you very much for all the views, adds and new follows! I'm humbled! If you're a fan of the Free League "ALIEN" RPG, I'm about to unveil a new website containing alternate rules, art, tech, items, skills, space craft, starships, vehicles, weapons, etc. for the game along with new fiction and art. If you liked my "Terminator 2029AD" site, I think you're going to like my new "ALIEN" site. Update soon!

What's the story mother
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I use AI for art. There, I said it. Fight me. Now, I'll tell you why. The honest truth is that I LOVE art but I can't draw worth a damn. I can, however, as a popular amateur author, write stories better than most of you, if you even can write stories, and I've found that AI is a magic box. It is a magic box that I can put words into and the most amazing pictures come out of it. I've seen a lot of ignorant people say that "AI art isn't art".


I beg to differ and I'll tell you why.


If you can slip a crucifix with Christ on it into a Mason Jar full of human urine and call it "Piss Christ" and have that be considered "art" then you have no room, the art community as a whole, has no room to decide what is and what isn't "art."


For me, imagine that as far as making art, I'm handicapped. I am physically handicapped when it comes to creating art of any kind (video, paint, drawn, music, etc.). I can't draw or paint, yet I am still an artist because I understand art and recognize art and appreciate it. I want to make art but I can't due to my own limitations and I've found that I cannot overcome my limitations without artificial assistance. Like many with physical handicaps, I need a prosthetic to help me function at the same level as artists who are not handicapped. For me, AI is a way to overcome my physical art limitations, my art handicap, if you would. AI is a prosthetic for those of us who don't have the talent that others do and I'm going to use the word "talent" loosely because the last person who jumped on me for producing AI art seemed to draw (rather badly) art intended for the Furry crowd ... which, when I visited their home page after their message to me, I had a big LOL. I walked away to a university function that involved my daughter and her study program and after coming up with the best reply I could to that person's chastisement (that reply being simply "Whatever, Furry."), I discovered that the Furry had both retracted and deleted their post to me which is all the same since the tag line on their profile was "AI art isn't "real" art" or something to that effect.


The people who are saying that AI art isn't "real" art and AI artists aren't "real" artists have amused me for as long as AI art has been available, but these people, especially lately, have got me to thinking. If we swap out the inability to do traditional art with, say, a disability (like being paralyzed from the waist down), and we swap out AI art programs and AI art itself with what those who are disabled need in order to function equally in society (think of AI art programs as wheel chairs or leg braces for less fortunate artists) ... then those who are saying that "AI art isn't "real" art" are the same people who would look at someone who was wheelchair bound and tell them "You're not a "real" person because you don't walk like I do."


I'll be the first to admit it ... there's a LOT of bad AI art out there ... oh my Lord, there's a tonahella lot of bad, really bad AI art out there (a lot of it based on marginal sectors of the community) but there's also some amazing AI art out there. There is, without a doubt, some truly amazing AI art out there ... but you have to dig through a lot of noise to find the signal in the wild.


Personally, I think my work is mediocre, at best, but it makes me happy because now I have the ability to put words into images, to weave text into texture and it blows my mind. I am literally enjoying techno-sorcery. I speak and images dance at my fingertips! However, not everything that I create do I feel is worthy of displaying; for every piece that I produce I generally write and tweak a paragraph (or more) to "build" the finished piece. In essence, at least for me, each of these pieces that I present that are created with AI are the visual end-pieces of what a computer dreamed when I told it a short story of my own creation. It's like reading your child a bedtime story and then the child waking you up the next morning with a hand drawn picture telling you that they drew you a picture about the story you read them last night. Do you put it on the refrigerator with pride or do you tell the child that they have no talent and wad the piece up in front of them before throwing their hard work into the waste basket beside your bed? I made something with my mind, a story, then I let a machine read my story, then I let the machine show me what it thought the story was about. It may get the image spot-on! It may get the image close or, many times, it may produce something that makes me smack my head, rethink how I speak to the AI, and try again.


It's a black box! Words go in and art comes out!


That's magic!


It's not ... perfect ... magic, but it is magic nonetheless and that magic is available to every person who wants to use it and that makes it even more magic in and of itself.


If you think that I don't put any real or serious effort into my art, you'd be mistaken. I've currently got over 15,000 pieces of AI generated art ... you (my followers and you, the random viewer who passes by), might see 1% of that.


Might. If you're lucky ... and if I'm proud enough of the end result to show it here.


I don't spam my AI art. I cultivate it, tweak it, and mold it just like someone who works with clay or forges ceramic works with their hands to make a sculpture. I write and rewrite what I want the AI program to produce until I am happy with the result then I copy and paste that artistic narrative into what I call a "recipe book" where I keep my short stories to art. That way, I have this living record of how I ended up with a certain piece. Sometimes when I'm happy with the result, I'll blow out several more copies ... I'll just keep hitting "create" and saving off copy after copy, each different than the last but still based off the same descriptive narrative, until I have a bunch that I can go through and pick out my favorite one or two images to share.


Sometimes I get an idea and can never get the AI to produce what I can see in my mind. Those ideas go into scrap books until either AI improves or I improve in my ability to talk to the AI and get my intent across.


Sometimes I merge pieces. If I get two okay pieces that have AI generated mistakes, I might go in and remove the mistakes and merge the good parts into something new and fantastic.


I delete a lot of images because ... AI loves birth defects, physical mutations and body horror and I don't understand why. Sometimes the image is perfect, absolutely perfect, then you notice that the person has eight fingers on one hand, or their arm / leg bends in an inhuman way, or their eyes look like swirled pastries, or they have one limb too many ... half of the fun of using AI is teaching it, if you will. Sometimes I feel like the AI program is learning from me as much as I'm learning from it ... who is the teacher and who is the student?


Sometimes the line really is blurred.


AI art is full of tangents ... I may start out trying to get the AI to draw a robot and end up with a bad-ass Japanese inspired sports car. The thrill of using AI is, for the most part, the journey from conception to finished product because that is where the magic is! An old programmer's saying is "garbage in, garbage out" meaning that if you don't tell the computer what you are wanting in terms that the computer can understand, what you get isn't the computer's fault.


Those who attack the use of AI art are seldom great artists their self, and those that are great I believe feel threatened. In the 1970s and 1980s, there was a very real fear that your job, your traditional, skill required job, could be replaced by a computer overnight. I think a lot of AI "hate" is just AI "fear" ... for some people, like those traditional skilled workers decades ago, their art is their only talent and for some it's their only means of income and to see an upstart computer program turning out art without all the fuss and bother that the traditional artists endured is cause for jealousy if not hatred. How dare a computer do art?!


Critics say that AIs "steal" art but what they fail to understand, let alone remember, is they ALL art is theft, intellectual theft, in some way, shape or form. No one is born a great artist ... you have to either teach yourself or be taught how to create art and in doing so, you use the art of others as an example of how, what, and why you create your own art. Can you imagine going to an art class where there are NO examples of art? In essence, no art is "pure" because all art, all styles, have been influenced by all art and all styles to come before. When I see people saying that they're blocking their art from AI learning or duplicating it ... I wonder how far they would have come, as an artist, if every other artist had snubbed their nose at the up and coming artist, the young new artist with such potential, by blocking the new artist's access to seeing or learning about any art out there.


AI art is being marginalized and it's by the same people who would cry out, raise their fists in the air, and march and loot cities if the AI program was a human being instead. We live in a world where it's okay to be physically handicapped but not artistically handicapped. It's okay to expect society to accept your wheelchair and build accommodations for you ... but to ridicule those who use a AI program to create art that they never physically could on their own? That's fully accepted and even encouraged in the art community.


I see the art community going into segregation and bussing again. You can't be here with us because you're not like us. You look different than we're used to. You didn't work as hard for what you have as we did. You're going to move in and take over and bring everyone down with you and we won't have that! As a casual spectator of the human race, I find the AI art argument amusing and interesting because it mimics a lot of what has gone before in history and society but on a much smaller, far less invasive or important scale. What we're seeing in the art community, in regard to AI art and AI artists, is exactly what the art community claims that it fights against in the real word. It's just more human hypocrisy at its finest and that makes me laugh to know that no matter how high the fists get pumped, no matter how loud the voices sound, it's usually the ones doing the protesting that are guilty, behind closed doors, of the very injustices that they're trying to stamp out.


If you think that AI art somehow isn't "real" or isn't "art" because I didn't lift a paint brush to canvas or stylus to digital pad, then you're part of the problem. AI art is art, it is real art, it is an offshoot / mutation / branching off of art and AI won't use a different platform than your art gets to use nor will AI art sit in the back of the art bus for anyone, no matter how much you raise your fist and stomp your feet and scream invectives at it.

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Well, my website, www.goingfaster.com is back up. Some of it was logistics (a debit card expired and auto-renew was cancelled) and I was lazy enough to just let the site de-rez for a few months because ... life ... lazy ... didn't think anyone really cared about my site.


I was ... wrong.


I've had a vast amount of email from fans the past six months asking and begging and pleading for the site to be reloaded or, if not, could parts of the site be mirrored. People offered to pay for webhosting (not a problem, actually) or host the site on their own domain space.


Reddit and other assorted social media posts were lit with posts about "Is Christopher T. Shields still alive?" and "What happened to going faster?

I've had several published authors contact me about my site and my health and offering assistance in hosting or rebuilding the site. It's quite humbling and I had NO idea my site was in any way as popular as I now understand it to be.


I apologize for letting it slack and disappear.


So ... www.goingfaster.com is back online. If anything is missing, or broken, let me know. I promise I won't let it lapse again. I honestly had NO idea so many people liked my work or followed me. Like I said, it is very humbling and I am very grateful to have so many people around the world actually give a damn about me and what I scribble in cyberspace.


God bless all of you!

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Updated the Terminator 2029AD website. General site maintenance and new fiction! Also worked some new designs of Aerial HKs in under the "Machines" section. Find it all here ...

https://www.goingfaster.com/term2029/

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Late in posting this loss as well ... that makes two GREAT artists lost in April of 2020. I always admired Gimenez's work and could spot it a mile away. I first fell in love with his work in the pages of Heavy Metal magazine when I was a child in the '70s and '80s. His work always had a very distinct style to it and I loved that style of smooth colors, almost like his characters were made out of polished stone.


"Writer/artist Juan Giménez died at the age of 76 on April 2, 2020, in his hometown of Mendoz, Argentina. The passing was confirmed by long-time publisher Humanoids. 


"RIP Juan Giménez, the writer, artist, and genre trailblazer behind The Metabarons, The Fourth Power, and Leo Roa," the company tweeted. "The universe is a darker place to explore without you."


According to the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion, Giménez had been hospitalized since March 22 and was later diagnosed with COVID-19.


Born Juan Antonio Giménez López in 1943, the Argentinian artist moved to Spain to attend Barcelona's Academy of Fine Arts. After graduation, Giménez became a popular name in the European comics scene - particularly working in the science fiction genre. His work reached an even broader audience with the 1981 animated film Heavy Metal, for which he designed the "Harry Cannon" short. In 1992, he began work on what was to be one of his hallmark series - Metabarons with writer Alejandro Jodorowsky.


"He did beautiful elaborate and decorative work that was the envy of many, including me," said Walter Simonson. "Never met him, but I didn't have to. His influence touched my work and still remains, hidden away here and there."

Metabaron Art
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