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  • Writer's pictureScott Glazier

Artificial Intelligence and Tattoos

Good Morning SPEAKEASY Readers! Hope everyone had a great week.

For me this is my 2nd week in the apprenticeship and I am still full of nerves, excitement, and eagerness to learn the trade. Also it’s insane to me that part of this experience is getting to write this blog every week. I am really enjoying the process of learning new information in the tattoo world and getting to share my take with you. I will acknowledge though that writing like this is a muscle I haven’t exercised in a while. After the 100th time of rereading my last blog entry I kind of noticed I didn’t quite explain what I was talking about. There was a lot of passion and no substance, so let’s get into it and dig a bit deeper on the subject of Ai filters and tattoos.

Artificial intelligence tattoos. What are they? Are they just as good as a real person drawing your custom tattoo design? Or better? And the big one that I wonder, is it a threat to local artists or our industry as a whole? Many questions and fears arise when this topic comes up.

So what is artificial intelligence? AI, In its simplest sense, refers to the ability of a computer performing tasks that are similar to that of human learning and decision making. One of the ways we use AI is in the form of an online generator where you can input keywords to produce art of any theme, subject matter, and even in the style of many iconic artists of not only tattooing, but all mediums of art across the board.

One such example is who says,

“Imagine anything! Then type it into the search bar. Click Generate.”

Well i want to generate the snowman Olaf from Frozen melting in an

Maurits Cornelis Escher painting.

Alright… well maybe that was too much since it didn’t fully understand the context of my prompt.

Let’s take another stab and make it more simple, this time I just want it to generate Olaf.

Ok closer, but still not quite right. Well, at the very least let’s see if we can get

Olaf melting.

Ok definitely better, but as you can see just asking the generator to come up with a single specific idea with a particular style is troublesome, but it’s not impossible or improbable. Let me show you another generator with more specificity to tattoos.

I want a black cat with a witch hat

Now these last ones weren’t bad, i’ll leave it to you to fully explore on your own. Personally I find them intriguing and I myself am indifferent to them. In my opinion there’s definitely not an ai generator that can give you the auteur experience of consulting a seasoned professional on putting Olaf melting on your bicep.

I am new to the tattoo industry and that being said I’m seeing Ai art from afar since I’m still only in the infancy of my apprenticeship and maybe in the future i’ll feel more strongly one way or the other on them.

I spent a good deal of time inputing different styles of tattoos into the generator. Throughout the whole experience I didn’t find one that I felt held up against an experienced professional tattoo artist. I also don’t find it uncool for a tattoo artist to put an AI generated art piece onto a clients skin. While in some ways it can feel threatening to our tattoo world, it can also be used as a useful tool in the tattoo world….. but who knows, these small little insignificant things may turn out to be Skynet the AOL dial up version.

In conclusion, The growth of artificial intelligence has been challenging this industry just as the technology has overtaken other sectors. The fact that there are AI-generated tattoos that can mimic the works of tattoo artists and even produce higher-quality results comes as a threat to some in our industry. This has been an ongoing trend in Los Angeles. The credibility that artists used to enjoy due to their fine work is being replaced by technology. The Tattoo artists in this city have therefore been conflicted on how to proceed. That is, whether to embrace the AI generated tattoos or to boycott the new technology and continue their artistry in the traditional form as before.

Speakeasy Tattoo, is one of the many tattoo shops in the city who have seen this coming Over the past decade. Scott Glazier has been able to build a reputation for his ability to produce high-quality tattoos. What is to become of such an artist who prides himself on honesty, dignity, and commitment in his process? On the one hand, he could decide to evolve with time and incorporate the AI-generated tattoos into his work, but that would mean that the one thing that was special about his art stops being special. Additionally, the AI tattoos would mean more people will be able to do with ease the craft he has been crafting for a decade now.

My final conclusion to all of this is that Art is human. Ai is like a parrot repeating a word back to you. You can’t have a real conversation with a bird, we don’t wonder if the parrot understands us. It’s an animal in a cage. We are free. I would say that if I wanted a tattoo, I wouldn’t leave it up to chance that my AI generated image is going to be exactly what I wanted. I would go get EXACTLY what I wanted. Plain and simple.

Until then my fellow apes.

Peter Michael Hernandez


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