Hanne Van Briel is a generative AI artist, photographer, and abstract artist based in Belgium. In this podcast, she shares her experience using Midjourney, an AI text-to-image generator, and how it has sparked her creativity and artistic pursuits. We also discuss the debate over AI art as a new art, and whether AI art should be eligible for copyright. You can follow her art on Twitter.
In today’s selection, we discuss how Van Briel first became interested in generative AI, what her first reaction to Midjourney was, and how she has amassed so quickly a following of her art on Twitter.
Hanne Van Briel on how she first became interested in generative AI
It’s really a pleasure to speak with you today. Why don’t we start off with a simple question. How did you become interested in generative AI?
Hanne Van Briel:
Yeah, that’s a good question. It’s, well, there’s a bit of background there because for me, it’s been kind of different elements coming together. Well, I’ve actually been kind of interested as of, I’d say, been playing a lot more with it at the beginning, as of the beginning of this year. But yeah, it all comes from, like, I’ve, my dad is a photographer. And I’ve also done photography, I think it was more than 10 years ago, I’ve done several gigs in it, but I decided to just pursue the easy way, with my education. in IT, but I’ve also done audio visual arts, communication multimedia design. And so I’ve kind of pursued that path, being a product manager in marketing automation platform. So, and I’ve done that for like, I don’t know, 15 years, 16 years. Um, but I’ve always done creative things on the side, wanting to know more about. interior design, I followed courses on that lately. I’ve done jewelry design, photography like I mentioned, abstract painting, I’ve done that for several years and I was kind of at the beginning of this year searching for something new like something refreshing. I have always been kind of in the IT marketing sector but I just wanted to pursue my creative. inner child more and just wanted to be a bit more closer to myself because just as a side note, I’ve kind of had a, how you call it, it’s called a burnout but for me it’s something like being too far from what you are and want as a person. So that’s kind of been my search the last couple of years and beginning of this year. I’ve kind of rolled into the challenge of AI. and specifically the image generation and it just opened up a whole new world to me and it just kind of brought all these elements together like my dad and myself into photography kind of the whole darkroom experience like you put all these different things together and you create something that you have in your mind and that you love so it’s that’s kind of how I rolled into it and became very interested in what it could bring me and just how I could help others in a way.
Wow, that’s terrific. And in the pandemic, I think it has been quite common for people to reassess their life goals. And that does sound consistent with, I take it probably many people around the world during the pandemic. I’m curious, were you sort of first discovered about text to image generators, mid-journey and other platforms,
Hanne Van Briel’s reaction to using Midjourney for the first time
And what was your reaction when you first, you know, started creating on Mid-Journey?
Hanne Van Briel:
I was so amazed by what it could do. You entered something and it just gave you this amazing image of what you envision or something else or something more. I just loved it. I was directly… A lot of people that I know, I was just like, look at this, how amazing this is and what you can do with it and this is just the beginning. It’s crazy. Well, we need to be mindful about it, of course. There’s some other things that are related to it that we need to take into account, but it also opens up a lot of opportunities for many people, I think.
Yeah, for the audience members who don’t know, Mid Journey and other platforms that are AI text to image generators, as the very name implies, to create a visual image of work, you simply have to enter words, certain words, they’re called prompts, and from those prompts, the generator creates what you have. directed it to do, to create, and it is something that seems magical. I mean, almost it doesn’t seem like it should be possible, given the kind of creations that are generated. They’re just so good, and it doesn’t seem like that should be possible for even for sophisticated computer programs. It just doesn’t seem like. the computer program should be able to do that, but obviously it can do it. And as Han, you’ve just mentioned, it’s just gonna get better and better. And that is the part that I think is, you know, disrupting the art world.
Hanne Van Briel’s reaction to growing following on Twitter of people who follower her art
Now to sort of jump to your sort of current creativity on Twitter, I’m a follower of yours on Twitter. That’s where I first saw. your AI artwork, you seem to be posting there, you know, pretty extensively, if not daily, you know, very regularly, and have amassed a pretty sizable following on Twitter. Can you describe what that has been like, that experience, you know, sharing your works on Twitter and, you know, amassing thousands of followers who are also, you know, engaging with your art?
Hanne Van Briel: It’s, I’d have to say it’s been amazing. It’s been great to just connect with so many people and just grow so fast because I really did not expect it. What I just wanted to do is I… just wanted to share some of my pieces online. I just, because I used to do tweets only when I was working and just when I went to conference or events and I just, I think I started with 250 or something and then it just. it blew my mind half past. The audience has grown, but especially in the short time frame. So it’s kind of, in a way, challenging, because I’m trying to find a good balance between how much time do I spend on social media versus I’m also trying to build a business around it for myself and just putting enough efforts. One, in engaging with the audience, making sure that I love what I do and that that’s creating art. But I also want to have that educational part into it. So yeah, I think I need to tell myself sometimes, I need to disconnect a bit from Twitter and just focus on some other things that I need to do. But. Yeah, there’s so much going on online, so many great and kind people. Um, it’s, I never imagined that. So I’m truly grateful for everyone I’ve met there, the opportunities I got. I also got to meet a lot of people that contacted me to, to help them out or different businesses. So yeah, I was truly amazed by what you can do and accomplish on just Twitter or social media. So, um. Yeah, I kind of love it, but need to find a good balance.
Hanne Van Briel previews her NFT collection
Let’s talk about, I saw on your Twitter account, you mentioned that you are planning an NFT collection. Uh, and I just wrote a book on NFTs. So I’m, I’m fascinated, um, about, uh, NFTs and how they intersect with AIR. Uh, can you share with the audience a little bit about what you’re, I take it it’s still not yet out, you still, you still are, uh, planning on launching. Can you tell us about what that project? Is and the date of the launch and maybe also share a little bit about the style of that collection.
Hanne Van Briel:
It’s actually again something which is very close to my heart as it just is a collection of images which I’m still curating and going through. That’s really about everyday life and it’s kind of capturing that human experience and those different like kind of fleeting moments that pass by when you do things every day. So it’s kind of a, you know, I’ve been talking a bit about the whole burnout, but I also have three young kids that are in the picture and it’s kind of combining all that and just there’s a lot of your attention as a human that goes to things that prevent you from being in the moment. So. That’s kind of what my collection is about. Just it visualizes that, like for instance, if you’re in a movie theater and your attention always often goes to different things that you need to do or you have a kid with you and you’re just half, experience half of it in the moment because you’re doing other things. And also with the burnouts, like there’s a, yeah, there’s some things that are. kind of cloudy in the head at those times. And it’s kind of figuring out and visualizing what that feeling is.