Sometimes when undertaking art projects that are very big or take a long time, it can be useful to take up a new artist moniker specific to that project. Something to dump all the psychological contents of the process into, a container, an entity which can become itself an egregore, an invocation. And which, when you’re finished, you can leave behind.

I had such a name like that come to me the other day during meditation. That’s a topic I intend to write about it in its own right in more detail (meditation is its own kind of hyperreality), but suffice it to say sometimes in the meditative process, things seem to arise all on their own, through some deeply intuitive process which is for the most part opaque.

The name that popped into my mind was ‘Baofa,’ which I sat weighing in contemplation for some time, and it stuck with me. I thought it had kind of a cool, singular quality to it, like “Madonna.”

On ending the session, I started querying different sources online to see if it was really a thing, and found that apparently this word has a meaning in Mandarin Chinese, and its characters are 暴发. Google Translate seems to confirm the translation there… Though the primary translation appears to be “outbreak,” the secondary ones listed there are: get rich quick, suddenly become important, suddenly become rich.

I didn’t undertake my generative AI art projects in order to become “rich,” but given the headline Newsweek wanted me to write an article for, and other comments received in response to that piece, I think it’s only too funny and ironically fitting in the end I guess to adopt, essentially, “get rich quick” as a name.

I don’t know Mandarin Chinese, nor have any connection to that culture personally. I don’t know if somehow my subconscious mind tapped into some store of universal human knowledge to taunt me with silly name-calling, but I guess I don’t necessarily rule it out either.

Interestingly, I’ve been looking around for comprehensive lists or even references to generative AI artists by name, and they are hard to come by. Who are the artists working in this space? By what names are they going & why?