Is AI-Art, Art?


New York TImes

Jason Allen’s winning piece for the Colorado State Fair annual Competition.

Rylee Revier, Staff Writer

  Many artists have concerns about the rise in popularity of artificial intelligence (AI)-generated art that is appearing on the internet. AI-generators are not only disrupting artists but the entire creative workforce such as photographers, musicians and writers. The convenience of AI-generators begs the question, in the digital age what makes art, art? 

   Digital artists have spoken out about AI-art via social media. One Twitter user stated, “We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes.”

   During September 2022, videogame designer Jason Allen spent 80 hours working on his digital art piece for the annual Colorado State Fair. He didn’t reveal that his piece was AI-generated until months after the competition was over. The backlash from the art community was immediate.

   Another Twitter user saying, I can see how A.I. art can be beneficial, but claiming you’re an artist by generating one? Absolutely not.” 

   An abundant amount of online digital artists rely on commissions requested from fans. However, due to its easy access, many clients are turning to AI-generators. While the finished work is of lesser quality, it is almost always less costly because it requires no artistic effort or labor. This causes a disruption in the economy for artists.

   A comparison can be made to artists’ reaction to non-fungible tokens (NFTs). Because of the popularity of NFTs, art theft was becoming more frequent. This is similar to the way AI-generators use art off the open web to generate images without the individual artist’s consent. 

   There is currently no data that suggests that AI-generated art is going to replace original digital artwork all together but instead it may become a tool that artists can use during their process.

   AI-generated art can be a good starting point for artists to pull inspiration from. Artistry is an important aspect of every culture, and as more things we’ve become accustomed to begin being translated into AI-derived works, the line between original and computer generated may be harder to distinguish.