AI Art Generators and the Art World

Written by
Estefanía Teixeira

AI Generators are part of the digital art field. Further, it’s boosting creativity and revolutionizing art making. Artists working with AI balance creativity with technology, devising original concepts and visuals. Also, AI can help recreate ancient historical artwork and preserve it today. While having many uses, what is the impact of Artificial Intelligence in the art world?

What is an AI Art Generator?

It’s crucial to know what an AI Art Generator (AAG) is to define AI art. These generators create exquisite pieces of work. Yet, AAGs rely on human activity, making them a fusion of tech and people. Text generators go through software to convert text into images or video with AI. Other content types enclose movies, poetry, and music. Digital art encompasses various genres. Examples of it include Generative Art, Glitch Art, and Machine Art.

How is AI Used in Art?

Generative and Algorithmic Art is capable of creating pieces in seconds. With AI in art, artists can optimize their time. Also, it allows them to focus on promising targets. Some uses include sketching and style transfer. AI can also repair damaged pictures, increase images' sharpness, and add extra elements. Also, it's able to shape certain existing features. It moves them to another visual conception while maintaining authenticity. Another use is to expand creativity limits. Tech enhances text-to-image solutions to bring ideas into tangible concepts. Hence, artists can take advantage of their ideas, receive a draft, and work based on it.

AI Art Generators and the Art World

How has AI Art Evolved?

Believe it or not, the term Artificial Intelligence goes back to philosophy. In 1950, Alan Turing presented his paper "Computing Machinery and Intelligence." It started with the question, "Can machines think?" Also, in 1956, the Dartmouth Proposal occurred. John McCarthy organized a group to develop ideas about thinking machines. The group concluded that all learning aspects could have a description that a machine could simulate. These specialists left their mark on discovering human thought as symbolic systems.

Later, visual artists started engaging with these new tech concepts, testing computer graphics. Artists like Vera Molnár and Manfred Mohr were vital to these processes. The duo studied different aesthetic standpoints while relying on science. As a result, they presented compelling pieces with art subjectivity. Both artists are among the pioneers of digital art

The advent of Generative Antagonistic Networks was vital for AI's evolution. GANs allowed the creation of the first art application, Deep Dream, by Alexander Mordvintsev. In 2015, he took a step further, developing a way to plumb the depths of Neural Networks. Also, he participated in several studies on how machines can learn visual concepts.

There are many examples of AI Art. In 2016’s San Francisco auction, Mike Tyka and Memo Akten showed Deep Dream art. Moreover, in 2018, the first AI artwork auction occurred. The rendered impression belongs to a Paris-based collective called Obvious. While its original price was $10K, the auction ended with an astonishing amount of $432,500.

Pivotal Moments for AI Art

AI Art Generators go beyond social media sensation and its myriad of filters. There are actual use cases where Artificial Intelligence is making a statement. Between these events, we can find:

The adoption of Midjourney

Midjourney has taken the world by storm. This text-to-image generator rose in July 2022 and is available via Discord. Here, users type the "/imagine" shortcut and its custom text to create art. A real-life example is Qasim Iqbal, who uses Midjourney to visualize architectural design. He explained to MyModern that "it's an ideal tool to create concepts, directions, and ideas."

Cosmopolitan's Dall-E Cover

Dall-E is under OpenAI's umbrella of services. While its first version came out in 2021, Dall-E 2 hit the market in 2022. It added features like greater realism and resolution improvement. In June 2022, these features saw their peak. OpenAI researchers, Digital Artist Karen Cheng, and Cosmopolitan joined forces to test it. In less than an hour, they created a cover for the well-known magazine. The cover, released on June 21, 2022, has credits for being the first cover designed with AI Technology.

AI Artwork wins Art Competition

A video game designer, Jason Allen, used Midjourney to create Space Opera Theatre. Further, he claims to spend over 80 hours to achieve his piece. Later, he submitted it to the Digital Art category at the Colorado State Fair, winning the blue ribbon. This recognition caused a stir in both media and other artists. Many took offense at seeing an AI-designed work triumph over manual talent. To this day, it's a controversial award and winner selection.

MoMA’s AI-Based Exhibition

The Museum of Modern Art presented Refik Anadol: Unsupervised. Anadol's artwork can analyze 380,000 images in 180,000 pieces of art from the MoMa collection. The exhibition aims to interpret and convert more than 200 years of MoMA's art collection. His first Unsupervised was at Feral File in 2021. Yet, his MoMA piece includes light, sound, and movement. The result is a unique and continuous flow in motion. Unsupervised will be available from November 2022 to March 2023. 

AI Art Generators and the Art World

What is the Future of Art with AI?

Generators of art are constantly improving through time. Plus, researchers are already working on the next phase of generative visual art. For example, META published examples of its text-to-video AI. In turn, Google introduced DreamFusion, a text-to-3d-image AI.

Yet, AI Art also receives its fair share of backlash. On one side, artists are starting a riot-ish against ArtStation. The motive for it relies upon the fact that most AIs receive training from already human-made art. For them, this approach undermines the time and skills needed to create art in the first place. Further, artists receive no attribution when AI platforms make these canvases. On the other, giants like Netflix are facing criticism worldwide. Its Japan offices confessed to using AI for background in its latest anime. While citing a "labor shortage" as its motive, its series The Dog & The Boy made headlines for the wrong reasons. After its Jan 31st’ tweet, artists around the globe affirmed that these techs “steal” from the creative community.

Nonetheless, artists like Winkowski have already blended AI into their art. For him, AI is like “having a superpower as an artist.” Any artist can take on more ambitious projects than they ever thought possible. Jason Sturgill also stated: “it’s going to happen whether we like it or not, so we might as well find a way to work with it.” That is without including prior mentioned artists, like Manfred Mohr, who is still making AI Art at 84 years old.

Final Thoughts

Miracle or menace, there's no denying that AI is changing how we view, consume, interact, and create art. Further, text-to-image tech has been a massive step in embracing Digital Transformation. On the pros' side, many free versions are ideal for awakening interest in art.  Contrarily, it needs adjustments in training and especially in its sources' recognition. Yet, AI Art has come to stay, and we can only expect it to keep enhancing its processes.

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