Weeknotes 11

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Mountains Power lines

These days, I feel more appreciative of art.

I think, AI can't make this.

People continue to create and share things that are surprising, beautiful, personal.

A closeup sketch of me, looking downward. My hand holding my phone, open to a social media app. Closeup of my thumb tapping the 'like' button.

There's so much to discover on the internet.

Twitter sucks, but a lot of artists still post there.

art things

The other week, I was flipping through the artbook Rooms by Senbon Umishima, and went to look them up because I wanted to see more of their art. I came across this wonderful interview on pixivision where they talk about their work and process. There’s a lot I like about it.

“I believe that the interpretation of not only the style but the work itself is in the hands of the viewer. Once I’ve finished a drawing, a one-to-one relationship with the work is created between it and everyone who sees it. I can’t barge into that relationship just because I’m the artist. Of course, I remember all of the pieces I’ve created, but in a sense, it is almost like my relationship with a piece ends once I’ve finished drawing it.”

Q: This solo exhibition is centered on the Rooms series. How did you come up with the idea?

A: “Green tiles are so cute, aren’t they? If I were to draw some, the drawing itself would have to be set in a restroom,” was the simple idea that gave birth to my first work. After I had done quite a few, my editor suggested that I should make an art book series with rooms as the theme.

I love this—they wanted to draw something specific because they liked it, and then an entire series was born. It’s such a simple idea that I want to internalize more. Instead of trying to create something grand and ambitious, start from something small, that I enjoy, and see what comes out of that.

(Sidenote: there are lots of artist interviews here—super fun to see how they approach their work, style, business, etc.!)

From another interview with Akakura:

Q: Does even a popular illustrator like you sometimes fall into a slump? How do you get out of it?

A: I hit plateaus regularly! (laughs) When that happens, I try to incorporate some new elements into my drawings. For example, I’ll give a go to popular post-processing techniques, such as offsetting, where the main lines are blurred. Trying new things is good for a change of pace and makes me feel like I’ve learned something, so it also motivates me. As I mentioned earlier, I draw sketches of designs that interest me instead of taking notes. If you can keep that up regularly, you’ll still have some work to look at even after falling into a slump.


I feel like I’ve spent too much time looking at Web Design and WebsitesTM lately, that reading about artists feels like a revelation, even though the art community is where I started on the internet. I’ve spent too much time away.

I mused about this while writing my last weeknotes, though I ended up scrapping the section—but lately, I’ve been particularly enamoured by art. When I look at it, I feel more wonder and awe. I feel inspired. Perhaps it’s a byproduct of seeing too much about ‘AI art’ (as of writing this, OpenAI just revealed their video generator Sora, which is a whole different can of worms).

I don’t have a good way of articulating my distaste of AI-generated art yet. It feels: cringe, tasteless, manufactured, clickbait. It’s like a SHEIN ripoff of something beautiful and handmade. It has a novelty factor that feels cheap. I don’t respect it.

Other people have expressed these sentiments better than me. Here are a couple that I enjoyed recently:

“Most AI images look like shit. AI “artists” are quick to lecture me that generative tools are improving every day and what they spit out won’t always look this way – I think that’s beside the point. What makes AI imagery so lousy isn’t the technology itself, but the cliché and superficial creative ambitions of those who use it. A video of a cyber-punk jellyfish or a collie in sunglasses on a skateboard generated by Open AI’s new video-to-text model Sora aren’t bad because the animals in them look unrealistic; they’re bad because they’re mind-numbingly stupid. AI image generation is essentially a truncated exercise in taste; a product of knowing which inputs and keywords to feed the image-mashup machine, and the eye to identify which outputs contain any semblance of artistry. All that is to say: AI itself can’t generate good taste for you.”

Elizabeth Goodspeed on the importance of taste – and how to acquire it (via It’s Nice That)

“nobody asked, but AI is fundamentally incapable of producing worthwhile art, because what makes art worthwhile is its humanity. as tech is able to do new stuff, our cultural understanding of what is worthwhile art will shift to center whatever humans can do but tech can’t”

Adam Chase (via Twitter)

Reading on the internet

  • How To Center a Div by Josh Comeau – I read this thinking that I already knew how to centre a div so it’d be a refresher, and then I learned that margin-inline: auto is the equivalent of setting margin-left and margin-right to auto, and I realized that I know nothing, actually.
    • Josh describes the place-content: center method with css grid as the most ‘terse’ way to centre something, which I think is a delightful way of putting it.
    • He also writes: ‘An element with position: fixed is like a ladybug that lands on the window.’
    • Ah, if only all CSS writing were full of such reverence.
  • Muse retrospective by Adam Wiggins – an interesting post on the app Muse. I wanted to try Muse way back but never got around to it, since I ended up using Figjam and I never did the kind of research it’s well-suited for.
  • Tumblr and WordPress to Sell Users’ Data to Train AI Tools by Samantha Cole for 404 Media – how utterly depressing.
  • Where I’m at on the whole CSS-Tricks thing by Chris Coyier – it’s a bummer how DigitalOcean bought CSS-Tricks and then left it to die. CSS-Tricks is the blog. The flexbox guide is legendary.
  • Review: Chris Dixon’s Read Write Own by Molly White


It’s been slow on this end.

  • There’s a new trailer for The Sympathizer – I’ve been looking forward to this since I saw the first trailer way back, and I’m excited we finally have a release date (April 14). I’m going to try to reread the book before then.
  • I rewatched Dune in theatres, and I’m going to see Dune: Part Two tomorrow and I am very hyped.
  • I’m still playing FFXIV (though my friends will point out how I haven’t logged on in nearly two weeks). I am so close to the award-winning Heavensward expansion.
  • I’m on Destiny 2 sabbatical. Feels nice.
  • I’m still listening to Naruto music, which feels like a sign that I should go and finish my reread of it.

Other things

  • I’m casually on the hunt for a new RSS reader, and I got lots of lovely suggestions on Mastodon, but haven’t been able to sit down and do a whole proper evaluation yet.