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This lizard makes art that's raising money for Australia bushfire relief – CNN

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The Argentine black and white tegu is owned by Sarah Curry, a graphic designer from Lansing, Michigan, who sells its artwork on Etsy. She has raised $2,000 in two weeks.
Curry told CNN she got the idea after she saw her local zoo do it and wondered if it would be safe for Winston. After checking with the veterinarian to get the right type of paint, she was ready to try.
“He walked in it and just started doing his thing and made a big mess,” Curry said.
Winston is 4 feet long, weighs 15 pounds, and was once owned by someone who couldn’t care for a lizard. Winston was in bad shape and dumped off in a box at The Great Lakes Zoological Society.
“You could tell his diet wasn’t right. He was malnourished and his skin was flaky,” Curry said. “The people who had him just didn’t know what they were doing.
“He’s really hard to care for if you don’t know what you’re doing, but for me it’s easy.”
The Michigan zoo nursed Winston back to health. But when it shut down due to lack of money, Winston ended up at a rescue, where Curry adopted her pet in March 2015. She thinks the reptile is 12 years old.
It has its own climate-controlled room after destroying too many enclosures. An omnivore, it eats raw chicken, green beans and strawberries.
Winston uses his tail as a paint brush. Winston uses his tail as a paint brush.
Curry said she knows a lot of people who live in Australia and she wanted to do something to help after the devastating bushfires there. She hasn’t chosen a charity for the money yet.
“All of the animals and people fighting for their lives, now they have no homes, nowhere to go,” she said.
Curry has a fresh batch of paint for more art by Winston.
“He doesn’t realize that he’s making an impact,” she said.

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This AI art app is a glimpse at the future of synthetic media – The Verge

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If you’ve been hanging out on Twitter lately, then you’ve probably noticed a profusion of AI-generated images sprouting all over your timeline like weird, algorithmic visions. These pictures have been generated using a new app called Dream, which lets anyone create “AI-powered paintings” by simply typing a brief description of what they want to see. It’s odd, often uncanny stuff — and extremely fun.

The resulting artwork has its own particular aesthetic, defined by swirling shapes and incoherent objects. The real magic, though, is that no matter what you type, the app will generate something that is visually compelling (at least until we get too used to these toys) and that matches your prompt in often surprisingly apposite ways.

Consider, for example, the image below: “Galactic Archaeology With Metal-Poor Stars.” Not only has the app created a picture that captures the mind-boggling galactic scale of a nebula, but the star-like highlights dotted around the space are mostly blue — a tint that is scientifically accurate for metal-poor stars (as metallicity affects their color).

A few quick searches on Twitter reveal plenty more examples, but really, you should have a play with the app yourself to understand it better. (If nothing else, the images it generates are exactly the right size to create a personalized wallpaper for your phone.)

This sort of AI-generated artwork is not new, but it is becoming higher quality and more accessible. Past examples of these sorts of text-to-image models have included research-orientated programs like DALL-E and VQGAN+CLIP, as well as more specialized commercial projects like Artbreeder (which is particularly good at creating portraits of fictional beings and people). With tools such as these, the AI art scene has exploded in recent years, with practitioners creating everything from lifelike Roman emperors to infinite waifus.

The Dream app takes things a step further with its speed, quality, and accessibility. It’s available on iOS, Android, and the web and is the work of a Canadian startup named Wombo. The company previously made that AI-powered app that lets you feed in static images to create lip-synced renditions of memeable songs. What exactly powers Dream isn’t clear (we’ve contacted Wombo to find out), but a lot of AI art tech is open-source, which means the firm has likely built on past work to create the app.

Generally, programs like these are trained on vision datasets — huge libraries of images that are tagged based on objects and scenery. The programs pick out consistent patterns and themes in these images and then use this information to try and generate something that matches the users’ prompt. We don’t know what dataset Dream’s algorithms were trained on, but based on its output, it’s safe to say it includes a wide range of imagery — able to generate pictures that correspond to anime characters and video games.

The accessibility of Dream means it’s being put to novel uses, too. It’s been used for viral games (like inputting your PhD thesis title and sharing the result) and for more directed projects as well. In one amazing Twitter thread, the writer and illustrator Ursula Vernon (who publishes under the name T. Kingfisher) shared a short comic they’d made using Dream. The comic’s characters are drawn by hand, but the backgrounds are AI-generated, with the surreal, shifting quality of the images explained as a result of the setting: a dream library overseen by the Egyptian god of writing, Thoth.

Vernon tweeted about her experience, noting that she had to do a not-insignificant amount of work to prepare the images and that the inability of the program to create scenery from within a space with consistent architecture created its own challenges.

“In Conclusion—does it work visually? I think the answer is ‘sort of,’” tweeted Vernon. “I’m very aware of the weirdnesses as an artist, obviously. As a dream sequence, the messed up architecture kinda works, but how long can you get away with it? Sooner or later, the reader is probably gonna notice that nothing takes place in the same scene from a different angle.”

Despite its obvious limitations, Dream shows us a glimpse of the future of synthetic or AI-generated media. For evangelists in this space, the promise of the technology is one of infinite variety. In the future, they say, games, comics, films, and books will all be generated on the fly in response to our every prompt and whim. And although we’re a long, long way from such media matching the quality of human output, limited, hybrid applications will be coming sooner than you think — appearing like something first glimpsed in a dream.

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Clock Tower art heist: Artist Gail Ring had to fight to be compensated for an iconic Stoughton illustration – Stoughton Courier Hub

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Clock Tower art heist: Artist Gail Ring had to fight to be compensated for an iconic Stoughton illustration  Stoughton Courier Hub



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Call for Youth Artists! Mississauga Welcomes New Public Art Collaboration – City of Mississauga

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For the third year, the City of Mississauga is pleased to announce its Parks, Forestry and Environment x Public Art Collaboration. This iteration of the temporary public art program is taking place along the Malton Greenway featuring art that addresses environmental issues and creating opportunities for Mississauga youth.

SHEEEP, the lead artist of the collaboration, will create a performance-based, community-engaged temporary public art project that speaks to climate change, the importance of technology and greenspaces in urban settings. It includes components that are responsive to the area – such as sounds of a nearby creek and a thermometer showing the humidity of the park.

“I’m thankful that Malton has been selected to showcase this art installation highlighting a very important topic,” said Carolyn Parrish, Ward 5 Councillor. “This exciting project allows us the unique opportunity to connect with one another through art, casts a spotlight on global environmental issues and provides wonderful opportunities for our youth; all while providing great visibility to our community. I encourage all our Mississauga youth, especially those in the Malton area, to put forward applications for these opportunities.”

Two paid mentorship opportunities are available for Malton youth ages 16 to 29 interested in photography and videography. Applications will be open until January 10, 2022. Successful candidates will be involved in the project alongside the lead artist, SHEEEP.

“This project addresses key priorities for us by engaging youth in making great public spaces while raising awareness of important issues like climate change,” said Paul Damaso, Director, Arts & Culture. “We’re excited to work with SHEEEP, and our local youth artists, on this terrific project.”

It is anticipated that the artwork will be on display in the Malton Greenway in spring 2022.

To apply for the youth photography and videography positions, visit the submissions page and to learn more about this collaboration, visit sheeep.studio/Mobilizer-3-0.

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Media Contact:

City of Mississauga Media Relations
media@mississauga.ca
905-615-3200, ext. 5232
TTY: 905-896-5151

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