May 22, 2023

Joseph Barber: The AI Artist With Tentacles

Earlier this week, we had the pleasure of interviewing @JosephBarber_, a brilliant and upcoming AI artist and writer, on our Discord server. The Irish creative spoke to us about his journey so far, his dreams, and his love for AI art (and the eight tentacled species he celebrates through it). Check out the first installment of Realm's new AI artist interview series!

Joseph Barber: The AI Artist With Tentacles

Realm AI: Hey everyone! Let's welcome Joseph (@JosephBarber_ on Twitter) to the server. How is your day going?

Joseph: Feels very good, thanks! I had an early 10km and I have just been working the rest of the day! How are you?

Realm AI: I am great. Let's get into the interview… so Joseph,  can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you became interested in AI art?

Joseph: Okay, sure! I'm a 23-year-old residing in Bristol, England. I have a fascination with human history, society, and anything related to AI, but my favorite thing is octopuses—I'm absolutely obsessed. I started engaging with AI Art earlier this year while blogging, something I hope to resume soon. I wanted to create images that truly reflected the topics I was discussing.

Joseph recently authored the fascinating article, "Octopus Intelligence, Maybe Conscious Aliens Are A Good Thing?: A New Perspective on Intelligence" for Liive. Check it out!

Realm AI: This is so cool. My grandma was a fisherwoman and she once gave me a pet octopus as a kid.

Can you describe your creative process when working with AI?

Joseph: I really enjoy trying to focus on specific objectives when I create art. I have a bit of ADHD and art allows me to focus a lot on what I like. Working my objectives into small targets then allows me to build a grander image. I often jot down prompt ideas in my notes, then revisit and refine them over time. Paying attention to detail is crucial when creating these images 😀

Realm AI: Interesting. Creating art from a prompt can be stressful. I get my inspiration from and (community members). I have seen your work and I bet you are on to great things. 

Do you consider yourself the "creator" of the AI-generated artwork, or do you view the AI as a collaborator?

Joseph: So this is the question, isn't it? Many probably don't respect what we do, assuming it's easy and requires little skill. On a fundamental level, I can see why it might seem fairly intuitive, but that shouldn't diminish its value. As you say there, there is a stark quality difference between a seasoned creator and a novice, and that gap will only continue to widen. In my view, when you're generating something, you are, in essence, the 'creator'.

Realm AI: This is a brilliant answer. And I agree with you totally

What challenges or limitations have you encountered while working with AI in the artistic field? How do you overcome them?

Joseph: Thank you, I appreciate it 😀! Personally, I find it challenging to replicate scenes from movies or accurately depict individual characters. For instance, last week I attempted to create an image of Ahsoka Tano from Star Wars for my younger cousin. It is her fav character. Despite multiple attempts, the results were not up to my—and more importantly, her—expectations. However, we didn't give up and continued refining it until I created an image we were both happy with. It took us about an hour lol. One has to approach such problems from various angles to find a solution—that's a life lesson right there!

Realm AI: I believe learning is the only way to get better at creating art. I am glad your cousin wasn't disappointed in the end.

How do you see AI art evolving in the future? Are there any specific areas or techniques you are excited to explore?

Joseph: Like all AI technology, AI art is constantly evolving, and I think it's exhilarating for us to be the pioneers in this field. I've recently enjoyed working with video formatting AI tools like KAIBAN and my brother has already become quite an expert with this technology. I believe video generation is the next frontier. I've already seen some impressive outcomes and am eager to delve deeper as the technology progresses. I have a lot of ideas.

Realm AI: Nice. Text to video is the next big thing. It is just as important as text to image in my opinion. Keep playing with it, and soon, you'll be an expert at it.

What do you hope viewers or audiences take away from experiencing your AI-generated artwork? What kind of emotional or intellectual response do you aim to evoke?

Joseph: Ok, I create a lot of artwork featuring octopuses. These creatures are beyond wonderful and are known for being dynamic, colorful, and intelligent. I endeavor to emulate the enigmatic beauty of these creatures in every piece I produce of them. I'm quite knowledgeable about octopuses and enjoy sharing interesting facts about them with my followers. My hope is that we, as a species, can start to appreciate the sheer wonder of these magnificent animals.

Realm AI: What advice do you have for aspiring AI artists just starting their journey in this field?

Joseph: Be professional & invest significant time in creating a single image, especially at the beginning. Even if you're content with the initial result, exploring different options will only enrich your understanding of what works best. I'd also recommend trying out various software available in the market and staying updated with new releases.

Realm AI: Thank you for this one!

Are there any specific projects or collaborations you are currently working on that you would like to share with our readers?

Joseph: For sure! A friend (an equal cephalopod enthusiast) and I have been designing octopus-themed clothes. Currently, these designs are just for us, but we've received a lot of positive feedback and think there's potential for a broader market. We're calling our venture Los Pulpos, and we'd love to engage with interested readers. Maybe I can teach you a thing or two about octopuses! You can follow Los Pulpos on Twitter @pulposx2gs.

Realm AI: Alright, I'll check the page out!

We are curating an exhibition that features the work of digital artists like yourself and I was wondering if you would like to submit any of your pieces for consideration in the show. Can you share your top 3 AI arts with us?

Joseph: Happily 🙂

Realm AI: Finally, do you have any long-term goals or aspirations as an AI artist? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?

Joseph: Firstly, thank you for your kind words, guys! And yes, I do have a few goals. I'll be attending Cambridge University later this year to study the decentralized nature of octopus intelligence, and I plan to apply my research findings to the AI field, particularly how decentralization in AI might affect AI safety and alignment. I think there's so much we can learn from the closest thing we have to an alien on Earth, especially when we are introducing a super-intelligent alien into humanity. One of my long-term goals is to write a book on this subject, which I intend to illustrate with AI-generated images. Additionally, I aspire to ensure the success of our clothing brand, Los Pulpos, by leveraging AI-generated imagery. I firmly believe that we are the pioneers of the future of art, and I'm incredibly excited to be part of it.

You can follow me on Twitter @JosephBarber_

Realm AI: Great talking to you, Joseph. I hope all your dreams come true. 

Joseph: You're welcome, and thank you for this experience. It was fun!