If androids dream of electric sheep, then AI dreams of robotic wasps, chromed up bears, and technologically advanced fish. Toronto-based artist Machine Delusions is here to turn those dreams into real art, using algorithmic tools as a foundation for his artistic workflow.
With AI-based art rising in popularity, we talked to Machine Delusions to find out how he utilizes the latest technology and pairs it with his own creative ideas.
Where do you live? Has the place you live in influenced your art in any way?
I live in Toronto, Canada. It’s a very art-friendly city with tons of events happening all around me! I don’t think Toronto has influenced me too much, but living in the city that’s already supportive of artists in all respects definitely helps.
What did your artistic career path look like?
I’m both a full-time graphic designer and a freelancer, so most of my digital work has been very service-oriented. It’s been really nice to break through with my own creative work! Much more rewarding. My goal is to make a living selling my original pieces.
Most of my artistic career has developed through music production. It doesn’t directly relate to what I do now, but thinking like an artist transcends all mediums.
You use AI to create your art. What does the process of creating your images look like?
AI as a tool is a very, VERY new thing and there’s a lot of stigma around the artform as it stands. My process is broken down into roughly three steps: a sketch phase, an assembly phase, and a detail phase.
First, I sketch out the form of the image either by hand or using an AI-generated inspiration. From there, I play with the subject, the description, and words, endlessly utilizing custom code to find the aesthetic that will best suit my vision. Once I have the aesthetic for the piece, I run 20-50 versions of it. I then take the best 5-10 and photoshop the pieces together to complete the final composition.
But wait, we’re not done yet! I then slice the image into smaller pieces and RERUN those through AGAIN to fix any detail issues, and to generally add specific detail, texture, and color. The very last step is general color fixing and photoshop manipulation.
The final piece takes anywhere from 1-7 days, depending on how well I can execute on the idea
What inspires you the most, besides machines and sci-fi?
I’m inspired by everyday life. Random things come into my head all the time, and sometimes those ideas are just good enough for me to make into art – like with the robot bugs. A lot of my work is very much a feedback loop. I like setting up my workflow for TONS of experimentation. From there, it’s easy for me to narrow down the experiments that worked best, follow through with them, and make variations of whatever worked!
Do you think that you’ve already developed your final style?
That’s a great question. I really like what I’m doing visually, in the sense of textures, color, and workflow. I think the subjects I choose to create will change, as my emotions do! For now, people – as well as myself – really resonate with the nature pieces, the animals and the tree houses. I will explore those subjects some more until I move on to another.
Do you have any other hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
I play a lot of instruments and make a lot of music in my free time. I’m an electronic music producer as well! But for the time being, visual art is my main hobby. I also love traveling the world and learning about the latest and greatest pieces of tech and advancements.
What are your biggest artistic dreams?
I’m a pretty simple guy. My biggest dreams would consist of me making enough money to live on my art, as well as collaborations with companies or larger events that can utilize my artistic visions.
Do you have any advice for beginners on how to start using AI to create art?
Don’t just stop at the raw output. It’s very easy to be impressed with what comes out without any further manipulation. But this way, you will never stand out, as the space is ALREADY very saturated with people doing just that.
Finding a niche and figuring out how AI plugs into a larger workflow is a MUST if you want to fully utilize these tools and be successful as an artist.