Legitimacy, fear, oversaturation, losing artistic value: the fears of AI generated art and thoughts on how creatives can thrive in the world of AI art

Prompt: A Flemish painting of an Asian woman angrily typing on her phone, by Caravaggio

Disclaimer: I am not an expert on any of the topics I shall discuss below, I am just curious and I like to experiment + learn. I’m using this platform to log my thoughts, ideas and whatever else comes to mind. Please take what I write with a pinch of salt, and always do your own research. I am not a very good writer either, so be prepared to be reading a lot of fluff. 

Anything I write that might be wrong, please do correct me but be polite about it, thank you! 

Date: Monday 04/07/22

Go back to the blog: Maria tries to understand

Remember when our tutors would tell us to refine our ideas because it was the one thing that machines couldn’t generate? 

I still can’t believe that we have reached an age where AI would be able to generate art in such a realistic way, it feels absolutely surreal. And just like anything that is surreal, a lot of awe, anger and confusion has come with the discovery of DALL-E 2’s potential. 🍳🧑‍🍳 

We have entered an era where machines can finally create realistic outputs which are so good that we can't help but ask ourselves: what is the place of the creative in a world where their work can be generated in a second?

This post will mainly look into digital art as the most affected form since DALL-E produces digital files.

Prompt: A Flemish painting of an Asian woman recording a TikTok dance on her phone, by Caravaggio

The world of digital art is already over-saturated.

With the advent of image-based social media and the boom of NFTs (amongst other phenomenons) and the ability to create endless duplicates, some folks are scared that digital art is losing part of its legitimacy.

It is easier than ever to create digital art with a single prompt, as a majority of technical barriers have been removed.

I personally see this as a shift in the process of the creative.

The machine still needs a prompt to generate images in the first place and human input is essential, which means that the process of producing art has come with new skills and techniques which answers to this new technology.

For example when Photoshop arrived, there was a huge change in how we perceived the ability to make digital art. But as time went by, producing output from the tool was no longer seen as 'unique' and 'jawbreakingly cool', only the most interesting outcomes shone through the noise, just like any other form of art.

Prompt: A painting of an Asian woman browsing in a Korean supermarket, view from the side with strong lighting

So what skills am I on about? Some of the new skills and processes for generating AI art include:

  • A good sense of grammar and syntax

  • A good grasp on vocabulary and creative uses of language

  • A good knowledge of artistic and cultural references / art history / styles

  • Curating skills, from picking and choosing an image and re-editing it through the AI, like a brush tool

Aside from the AI brush tool, a lot of these skills are already essential for artists to develop their practice.

The most important skill however, is the ability to come up with an original, interesting, unique, visually striking thought.

It all boils down to the raw idea of a creative: someone who has the ability to provide the world with a uniquely beautiful perspective and translate it visually.

This is not a new idea, creatives have always held this power, and generators like DALL-E has simply removed a lot of technical barriers for creatives to generate striking visuals faster than ever.

Prompt: A Renaissance painting of an Asian woman who is hungover and sitting in a seat on an airplane, by Caravaggio

I'm not saying AI-generated images is all good or praising it as the best tool ever. I'm just saying that we should harness its potential to push our existing creativity.

As a digitally-inclined creative, I believe that approaching AI-generators like DALL-E should be done with care and it's important and freeing to look at the tool as a way to break down your own barriers. Artistic value doesn't stop at our technical abilities. In my personal case, I am finally able to output juxtapositions I have always wanted to see but was never able to create it before due to my own technical limitations (e.g i can't paint for shit).

So I want to push creatives to integrate AI within their existing workflows.

Always see how DALL-E can be used alongside your existing process, and don't stop at the final AI output.

Play with the prompts, refine your outputs using the AI brush, and most importantly, bring it back in your analoguous or digital processes, let it be collage, stitching, AR, VR, ceramics, painting or sculpture! AI generators are going to stick around, so try to see how you can use it to push the boundaries of your own work!

Prompt: A Renaissance painting of an Asian woman looking out the window on an airplane, by Caravaggio