Discover more from Humans of Generative Art
Meet Laura Ockel, co-creator of monAI.
Laura pairs her deep graphic design skill set with her partner, Joshua, to forge a new path in this world.
Laura has over 20 years of experience as a graphic designer. First, in the fashion and textile design, then in Android game design. Her partner, Joshua Frank, is a developer and roboticist. Laura uses Adobe Photoshop & Illustrator, and the monAI app, of course.
“Generative art has opened an entirely new career path for me and Josh. This is our only focus now. We’re a two-person company working each day to bring all the cutting-edge AI technology developments to our customers.”
“Generative art is a tool that allows artists like me to create beyond our limitations,” she says. “Years ago, I made presentation boards for amazingly talented fashion designers, but none of us could draw faces.”
"Generative art would have made our illustrations so much better!” she adds.
“I designed alien worlds for a merging game, but I struggled with basic things like light and dimension. I created space stations in a 3D modeling program called Tinkercad and traced them in Adobe Illustrator to get them right. Generative art could have made better results in a fraction of the time.”
“Every week, monAI adds new features and new models, and I’m excited to learn them all,” she says. “I write the app’s tutorials, and my social media posts are often geared towards spreading the word about our new features and how to use them.”
On the Flipside
“I spent many years as an art generator,” she says.
“My boss would ask me to create something. I would do as I was asked. Sometimes he’d be happy with the results, sometimes he’d be disappointed. Who was to blame?”
“Now, I see the other side. Sometimes the AI tool draws the picture that looks like what I have in my mind, and sometimes, not. And then I look at other people’s prompts and results. I can see, most times, the AI follows our instructions. It’s up to us to be clear and precise,” she says. “What have I learned? I’ve learned that I need to be a more effective communicator.”
Mentorship and Motivation
“Johanna Prinz, a brilliant fashion designer, hired me for my first creative job. It was a great opportunity that steered the course of my life,” she shares. “She became my artistic mentor and one of my closest friends.”
“Johanna always encouraged my artistic career. She motivated me to show my work in galleries and encouraged me to be a part of the creative community,” Laura says. “When she passed in the spring of 2020, I was devastated. I wanted to keep her legacy alive by continuing to create and share my photography with the world through Unsplash. I took hundreds of images that summer, became one of the top contributors to the Sustainability page, and I had one of my images featured as the Unsplash cover image and on Trello.”
The image below is that image, amassing over 13 million views and nearly 40,000 downloads on Unsplash.
“Johanna was always learning new skills, finding new ways to express herself as an artist. She continues to inspire me to do the same.”
Laura says, “the styles in monAI are all prompts developed to get good results with a wide variety of subjects. This one is based on our steampunk prompt, but without the steampunk. It delivers beautiful, polished results.”
jellyfish, very coherent artwork, unreal engine, realistic render, 8K, micro detail, intricate, elegant, digital painting, smooth, sharp focus
Expression is the Name of the Game
Laura has explored many types of art including metalworking, jewelry design, woodworking, and ceramics.
“I’m most devoted to photography. I love the structural intricacies of nature and architecture, the forms and colors. There’s so much beauty in the world, details that people might never notice. I love to capture that beauty and share it with the world.”
“Most of my generative art is an attempt to learn and explain the tools I am working with when using monAI. I want to help others understand what monAI can do for them, so they can express their artistic desires and get the results they’re looking for.”
“I’d love to learn better prompt crafting skills. I see the amazing artwork that comes from the generative art community, and I am absolutely blown away every day!”
We are too, Laura!
The monAI app has over 10,000 downloads and is available for free (ad-supported) on the Google Play store.