People have noted that when using giant internet-trained AIs like CLIP+VQGAN to generate images, you get much nicer-looking images if you include an artist byline.

Here's "Internet Infrastructure"

A greyish picture of rocks with dripping white webpages connected by blue weblike cables, and an ominous porcelain hole.

And here's "Internet Infrastructure by J*ames G*urney."

[Edit on Sept 17 2022 to add asterisks in the artist's name to avoid competing with search results for his actual work]

A painterly landscape with late afternoon light over a grassy plain. Stone pillars with white boxes on them rise above the grass, connected by colorful wires.

James Gurney, a painter known for works like the Dinotopia books, is particularly prolific online, and people have noticed that adding James Gurney as a byline to an image tends to produce great results. Ryan Moulton's collection of generated James Gurney paintings is astounding.

In general, when it comes to generating images, it pays to know your art history. Here's a thread by hannahjdotca that showcases some of the range that CLIP+VQGAN has picked up from online art.

I've found that an artist's period does make a difference - "Internet infrastructure by Vermeer" (1632-1675) is a bit low-tech and hard to parse.

A luminous room with peeling plaster walls, inhabited by unidentifiable figures in cowls, and lumpy candles, and bread.

Similarly, "Internet infrastructure by Edward Hopper" (1882-1967) isn't great.

Greenish stucco with maybe buildings, maybe storefronts, maybe curtains.

But "Internet infrastructure in the style of Edward Hopper" is much improved (and includes the AT&T logo).

A gas station like storefront on a dramatically lit prairie landscape beneath power lines. The AT&T logo floats above the door of the gas station.

I don't know if asking for an anachronism tends to produce bad results, or if I just picked two artists who don't lend themselves well to buildings and wires.

But I also happened to experiment with made-up artists, and surprisingly they had distinct styles.

Here's "Internet Infrastructure by Carmine Nottyors".

Blue and yellow yarnlike tangles of wires hang among grey arched girders. There’s a glowing streetlight and some sort of meatball.

She has never existed. She paints a mean tangle of wires.

Here's "Cathedral of the giants by Carmine Nottyors".

A painting of stone columns, redwood treetops, and humanoid stone pillars. The overall effect is of blue sky glowing from between deeply textured red arches.

Her style is distinct from the also made-up Picov Andropov.

Stone pillars topped with redwood trees, rising up into a partly cloudy sky.

And also distinct from the most similarly-named real painter I could find, Toni Carmine Salerno. (Here's "Internet Architecture by Toni Carmine Salerno").

Airy with diffuse clouds, and telephone wires. Primary colored pipes snake between white areas that look like websites, and hovering above it all is a thick nest of cables from which glows a single red light.

I wondered if it was CLIP+VQGAN's figurative shrug at an unrecognized artist name. But check this out: here's "Sheep in Pasture by Carmine Nottyors".

Deep saturated colors and contrasts. The sheep are in a park beneath city skyscrapers and are only sheep if you don’t look at them closely at all. One area of fluff has a shiny metallic ball for a head. The others have dripping black hatchmarks for legs.

And here's the clearly-different "Sheep in Pasture by Anonymous" ("Internet Infrastructure by Anonymous" was dominated by white masks)

Very abstract with pastel skies and yellow-green pasture. One area is fluffy enough to be a sheep; other areas are more like small spheres or squares but have two black eyes.

Ironically "Anonymous" is the most prominently-signed painting of all.

I'm intrigued that CLIP+VQGAN can generate unique painting styles for nonexistent artists. It's a dimension of control that I don't think I've seen people exploring yet.

I'm not sure what it means that "Cathedral of Giants by Janelle Shane" looks like Devil's Tower crossed with butts.

It does kind of look like several Devil’s Tower mesas, interspersed with redwood trees. There are strange stony creases in the sky that do look kind of like butts.

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