Category Archives: Art & Music

Why A.I. generated art won’t replace human artistry

The art world was forever changed when programs like Dalle-2 and Midjourney came to the public’s attention. These programs use A.I. generation to create images based on text prompts that you input. This allows anyone to make almost anything they can think of with only a sentence or two. While this is incredible in its own right, it has also caused some concern in the art world. That is, whether or not A.I. image generation will advance to the point where it could replace human artwork.

Embed from Getty Images

Some of you might not know what A.I. image generation is or how it works, so allow me to explain it. A.I. Image generators are programs that use algorithms based on pre-existing images to create whole new images from scratch. This could assist with sketching out artistic works, mass production of marketing applications, and helping artists develop new ideas for artwork.

However, despite the impressive technology displayed, there are a few aspects of A.I. image generation that make it unlikely that A.I. artwork will replace human artwork anytime soon.

Embed from Getty Images

One fact is how the images are created. An A.I. uses existing images to develop the generated images’ look, layout, and style. So the end results are only based on the already existing images, giving the user less control of the end results of the generation. Art created by humans has the benefit of designing. Artists can draw the picture how they want, where everything is placed, and use their own personal style.

Another reason A.I. art will most likely not overtake human art is that A.I. generators use existing images, and the images used could potentially contain copyrighted material. This causes images and artwork created by A.I. programs to be unsettled regarding copyright laws. Making it difficult for these types of images to find mainstream success.

Embed from Getty Images

Such as the case of what is happening with Getty Images. Getty images chose to put a ban on all A.I.-generated art and pictures. The reason for this ban stems from the uncertain copyright laws and complications that seem to plague A.I.-generated art.

A final reason A.I.-generated art won’t replace human art is that artists aren’t receptive to A.I. generation as an art form. An example was when a person used A.I. generation to create an image that won an art contest. Art community members were quick to criticize this, saying the man didn’t technically make an art piece.

Embed from Getty Images

So what is the future of A.I.-generated art? If it won’t replace human art now, will it later? Well, it is safe to say that the issues that revolve around A.I. generated art are slowly being fixed up. As time passes, copyright issues will be cleared up, and more control will be accessible over how the image is laid out. In the future, A.I. generation programs might serve as tools to assist more artists in the creative process. But when it comes to the actual creation of art, humans succeed in some areas that machines simply can’t.

Aidan Bajadek is a Junior member of the MultiMedia Journalism class.

Remember Travis Scotts’ Astroworld event? Here’s how it changed live music forever.

On November 5th, 2021, rapper and artist Travis Scott held his 3rd annual Astroworld Festival featuring some of the biggest names in music, such as SZA, Tame Impala, Earth Wind and Fire, Bad Bunny, and many more. In addition to being the festival organizer, Travis Scott was also the main headliner of the festival, who would be performing last to close out the 2-day festival held at NRG Park in Houston, Texas.

Embed from Getty Images

As soon as the rapper hit the stage, festival officials say there was a massive push towards the front barricade, causing a giant crushing event. People started to pass out due to the lack of room in the area, which caused patrons to fall over. Patrons kept pushing forward, leaving the victims on the ground to be trampled. Ten innocent concert attendees lost their lives that night due to the incident and other problems during the festival.

Violent fans breaking gates to gain entry into the festival contributed to the crushing incident.

Obviously, there had to be a significant change in how venues and festivals operate to ensure patron safety when attending a show or festival. Coming from someone who works in this environment, I think there was a huge change in both the venues and the artists.

Embed from Getty Images

I recently attended a concert at Baltimore Soundstage in Baltimore City, and the artist, Steve Lacy, took matters into his own hands. Off the bat, when I walked into the venue, I immediately noticed that the temperature was very cold in the room. I believe it was set up this way to keep everybody cool and ensure nobody would overheat.

Photo by: Quinn Wells

Another initiative Lacy took to ensure the safety and well-being of his fans was a dedicated segment in the show to pass out cases of water to all of the fans. The tour had planted cases of water throughout the venue that workers would pass out about midway through the show to make sure everyone was staying hydrated throughout his set. Steve Lacy and the tour did a very good job ensuring everyone was safe and well cared for.

The bottom line is that there needed to be a significant change in concert safety and security from the minute people walk into the venue until the moment people exit the property. Venues worldwide and artists stopping at these venues have taken action to fight more events like the one seen at Astroworld.

Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.

New faces lead to a new tune in MSJ’s music department

After a solid 2021-2022 school year of school-wide masses, football games, and other events, the Mount Saint Joseph Band Program will see some changes this year.

The Mount Saint Joseph Music Program is currently renovating as we are seeing some new faces pop up in the basement of the Knott Fine Arts Center. Mr. Nathan Royer has stepped in for Mr. Michael Alfieri, who has moved into the city to help teach band and other musical activities to younger kids.

Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph
Mr. Nathan Royer ’98

Returning to the Mount this year as a graduate of the class of 1998 is Mr. Nathan Royer. Mr. Royer is no stranger to the Knott Fine Arts Center as he has returned to his alma mater to fulfill the job of MSJ’s new Music Teacher and Band Director. Not expecting to come back to the Mount, Mr. Royer says, “I happened to come across the listing for the job on accident as I moved back down the street.” His goal is to return to the school to help new and existing musicians work on their craft and teach what he has learned to everyone who steps into the band room. Mr. Royer also tells me that the adjustment back to a school setting has been pretty easy except for some long days, but nothing he can’t overcome.

Mr. Royer has been on the road for the past 12 years as a freelance musician. In addition to being on the road, Mr. Royer is a private music teacher who gives lessons in the studio right in his home. In addition to teaching from his home, Mr. Royer does have past teaching experience as he was a teacher at a smaller private school just after finishing grad school. To say the least, Mr. Royer is looking forward to the new music played at sporting events, school masses, and other school-wide events.

Mr. Slattery sings during his time as a student at St. Joe. Photo Credit: The Tower.

In addition to welcoming Mr. Royer to The Mount, Mr. Ryan Slattery of the MSJ Spanish Department has stepped in to replace Mrs. Susan Esserwein as the Choir Band director. Mr. Slattery has extensive experience in the music department. As a 2015 graduate of MSJ, Mr. Slattery has participated in multiple school-wide events and other musical events as an experienced vocalist and musician. Mr. Slattery tells me that he is excited about the new opportunities coming his way and believes that he will bring a new kind of energy and expertise to the program that the band hasn’t seen before.

“I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.”

– Mr. Michael Stromberg

In addition to directing the choir band and teaching Spanish, Mr. Slattery has prior experience teaching musicians and vocalists as he teaches at a theatre organization called Cockpin in Court, which has been run out of CCBC in Essex, Maryland, in the summer for the past 3 years. A graduate of the Catholic University of America, Mr. Slattery studied Music Performance during his time there. I asked Mr. Slattery if it has been an easy adjustment taking over, and he told me, “it’s funny how you have an idea of things on the outside, but once you’re in it, the true colors sort of come to light. In some aspects, it has been easy, but the actual implication and practice time is definitely very difficult.” Mr. Slattery looks forward to planning more of the music that we could be hearing during the Campus Ministry events throughout the remainder of the year, and has enjoyed taking over the Choir Band so far this year.

Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph
Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph

Speaking as an instrumentalist in the Choir Band, the addition of Mr. Slattery has been very good. He definitely had an idea of what he wanted to do with the music and the changes he wanted to make to the setlist for the events that we have here. Campus Ministry also plays a significant role in how the band plans for the masses, and with new faces comes different feels to how the music is played during the masses. I took the time to ask the Campus Ministry department for their thoughts.

Mr. Michael Stromberg is one of the Campus Ministers at the Mount. As I said earlier, with new faces comes different feels to the music we hear. Mr. Stromberg told me, “I feel that Mr. Slattery has brought his ‘Slattery’ energy to the existing Choir band and has kept the foundation that was built by Mr. Alfieri and Mrs. Esserwein together to bring it to the next level.” Mr. Stromburg tells me he’s looking forward to seeing what Mr. Slattery brings to the Campus Ministry events throughout the year and can’t wait for what’s to come with the program.

Photo Credit: Mount Saint Joseph

For all returning students and staff, the next time you attend a Campus Ministry event, see if you notice a change in the feel of the music compared to previous years. For all you new students and staff, do you like what the band is doing during the mass? Make sure to check out the band during upcoming events, and make sure to greet Mr. Royer in the basement of Knott Fine Arts Center soon.

Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

The Weeknd recovering after canceling concert mid-show

Embed from Getty Images

Abel Tesfaye, better known as The Weeknd, had to abruptly stop the second night of his two sold-out shows at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles due to the performer losing his voice. On September 2nd, 2022, during the first song of his set, Tesfaye sang out the opening song which in the original recorded version goes, “In Vegas, I feel so alone.” Throughout the tour, Abel changes it to the city he is playing in, but fans knew something was very wrong when he sang out, “In Los Angeles, I feel so alone,” as his voice cracked terribly while singing the lyrics. 

Tesfaye eventually walked off stage in the middle of his hit song, Can’t Feel My Face. Fans were left in confusion as all the lights came on and the music stopped. Tesfaye eventually walked back on stage to fill fans in on his condition. The Toronto native expressed his frustration to fans by explaining that he could not give them “the show he wanted to give them.” In addition to rescheduling the second show, fans would receive their money back from the canceled show. 

The Weeknd coming back out to talk to the crowd after having to cancel the show.

The Weeknd and his crew set out on the 20-show journey in mid-July, beginning in Philadelphia and ending in what they thought would be LA. That would change due to communication problems in Toronto where the tour was originally supposed to embark, forcing Tesfaye and his crew to move the Toronto show to a later date. In addition to making up the Toronto show, The Weeknd told fans in his message on stage that he will make up the second night of the LA show, “real soon.” After expressing his grief to the crowd, the superstar walked off stage and left fans in disbelief. 

Embed from Getty Images

As of now, there is no scheduled make-up date for the second night of the show. The tour is expected to finish with two more shows, one in Toronto, Canada, and the last one in Los Angeles at SoFi Stadium. Fans have received their money back from the show and look forward to seeing the superstar for one final show on the After Hours til Dawn tour.

Quinn Wells is a Junior member of the Multimedia Journalism Class.

The Demise of Rock Music

Here’s why the wide-spanning genre isn’t in the American mainstream anymore.

Rock is one of the most complex and storied genres in all music, despite beginning less than a century ago. The genre contains countless subgenres with many variations, such as the present contrast between hard and soft rock. Many have associated the genre with lively drums, powerful guitars, and teenage revolutions. However, when facing 2022’s pop radios and streaming services at face value, new rock artists are barely visible. It’s near-impossible for an average adult or teen to name a newly developing rock band. Rock’s dead, at least, within the American mainstream.

Rock’s dead, at least, within the American mainstream.

Rock began in the 1950s with the rock ‘n’ roll movement: a combination of genres such as jazz and blues with new ideas mixed in. In the 70s, certain rock acts such as Led Zeppelin and Pink Floyd explored their guitars to shoot rock entirely into the mainstream. More varied bands appeared in the 80s and 90s, such as the romantic U2 and the grunge-y Nirvana (the latter of which paved the way for a lot of the rock landscape nowadays). These bands had airplay on the most popular radio channels, so this adds to the question: what happened to make rock bands fall off the map?

Nirvana has enjoyed a resurgence over the past year since The Batman used “Something in the Way” as its trailer and soundtrack music.

The 1996 Telecommunications Act was the first significant change to radio regulation in America since the 1930s. The cap on the number of radio stations one group could host was altered from 40 to as many as possible. Now a select group of companies run hundreds of all the radios and manipulate what type of music they play; most of them play the same artificial pop songs on every radio. This influences the rock industry in multiple ways. For example, it is almost impossible to get airplay as a local rock band, and if companies don’t believe that rock is going to give them popularity (which it won’t), they won’t play it. But why won’t rock draw in listeners?

“I think it was the move from analog to digital; the move from album to CD; the move to snippets of manufactured songs created by demographic. [Artists] make what the corporate says will sell.”

-Mount Theology teacher Mr. Tim Breen

Mr. Tim Breen, rock music aficionado, in his natural habitat – Room 3

The first, most obvious reason is that there are genres that have overshadowed rock’s draw. Rap began during the 70s, but it has steadily gained attention. The genre utilizes flows and beats to create enjoyable songs that can resonate with listeners. Other examples of newer genres that are beginning to obscure rock include EDM and indie. All of the aforementioned categories utilize electronics over the guitar, and its evident that younger listeners would rather listen to these developing genres. There’s a better chance that an average mount man could name more rappers than rockstars.

Kendrick Lamar The DAMN. Tour @ TD Garden (Boston, MA) (35709932740).jpg

Kendrick Lamar, one of the world’s most popular rappers, preforming live in front of hundreds of fans (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The second reason is that the fundamental instruments of rock – the guitar and drums – have already been utilized to their fullest. However, genres that use electronics are constantly pioneering new instruments and tools to keep people listening. Billy Corgan of The Smashing Pumpkins shared this opinion. “They’re engaging in new technology. Guitar isn’t new technology—there are only so many ways you can warp it around,” Corgan said while comparing rock to electric genres. The Smashing Pumpkins were one of the best-selling bands of the 1990s, so it’s stark to see their frontman recognizing rock’s death.

“Anything with autotune in it, you can blow that up. Real musicians play with real instruments. That’s why I love live music, because you can find out who can or can’t play it.”

-Mount Theology teacher Mr. Tim Breen

The grunge band Aberdeen has recently begun with the goal to mimic the classic sound of the nineties. The young musicians have already released and thoroughly advertised multiple EPs containing intricate production and vocals, so why aren’t they popular yet? The answer is their sound was already heard decades ago from bands such as Nirvana and other alternative artists. Nothing new is present in these songs, but can the band help it? The higher-ups of the music industry know that young audiences will find the music old and unexciting, so they don’t push it out as much. Many new rock artists suffer from this dilemma every day.

Kurt St Thomas.jpg
The 3 members of Nirvana, who could be considered rock’s last huge band (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

In order to get an opinion from a far more mature music fan, I interviewed the Mount’s Mr. Tim Breen. Mr. Breen is a Theology teacher known to be a diehard fan of rock music. Mr. Breen expressed his strong opinion about modern music passionately: “There was just more art and aesthetic into creating an album than from beginning to end than there is with these idiotic songs of three minutes and twenty-eight seconds that are manufactured at a corporate level.” By the end of our conversation, he had driven home the point that the industry is now driven by technology, greed, algorithms, and autotune, all of which are enemies to the creativity within rock.

“There’s no comparison. [Rock] was everywhere. It was dominant. I never bought music because you didn’t need to; you always heard it on the radio or at concert.”

-Mount Theology teacher Mr. Tim Breen

No matter their attachment to it, people should acknowledge rock’s absence from mainstream music and the charts. It doesn’t stand a chance within the modern music landscape compared to newer genres that continue to grow in popularity. The artists who produce rock find it much harder to have their music heard than in the past, as the switch from analog to digital led to a chokehold being held on America’s music industry. Due to the developments within the past two decades, modern rock has suddenly morphed into a niche genre that is gaining less and less respect. I love rock music, but the genre will never reach the popularity it once did.

Jude Danner is a Freshman member of the Quill.

The Art Shack

Episode 1:

In the first episode of Art Shack, we give an overview of different forms of expression in art. Art is fundamentally that, an expression, and it can be shown in many ways. We introduce this topic and give some examples of famous pieces of art from history.

Episode 2: Chuck Close

Chuck Close was an extraordinarily accomplished and highly talented artist. He created so many notable works in his time and has inspired so many. Despite some controversy both at the beginning and end of his career, he is undeniably an art legend. Upon his recent death, I found covering him on the show appropriate.

Episode 3: Art in Secondary Education

As a high schooler who finds art important, this was a necessary topic to cover. Art is something, that in recent times, has been overlooked at this level of education. But it is one of the most enriching subjects for students of all ages and throughout his episode I express that and give examples.

The Art Shack was designed, created, and produced by John Lauer.

John is a junior member of the Multimedia Journalism class.