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AI-generated artwork wins competition in US, and artists are furious

AI-generated artwork wins competition in US, and artists are furious

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By CNBCTV18.com Sept 3, 2022 2:30:23 PM IST (Published)

A man won the first prize at the Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition using an AI-generated artwork.

Jason Allen, president of the Colorado-based tabletop gaming company, Incarnate Games won the first prize at a Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition in the Digital Art Category and Artists. But artists are not happy about it.

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According to the state fair’s website, Allen won in the Digital Arts / Digitally Manipulated Photography category with a work called “Théâtre D'opéra Spatial.”
Jason Allen, ‘Sincarnate’ on Twitter, revealed that he won first place with an AI-generated image printed on a canvas. The image, a masterfully done painting, which Allen printed on a canvas for submission, depicts a scene that looks like it could be from a space opera. In the image, classical figures in a Baroque Hall stare through a circular viewport into a sun-drenched and radiant landscape.
Jason Allen was declared the winner even though he himself didn’t create the piece. This has enraged artists online as Allen did not go by the traditional way or wield a digital paintbrush to create the artwork. He instead used an AI program called Midjourney to create the artwork based on a text prompt.
However, Allen did take the generated image and touched it up in Photoshop before upscaling with Gigapixel. In his post Allen mentions that he had clearly labelled his submission to the state fair as “Jason Allen via Midjourney”, Vice reported.
Digital painting or digital artwork involves an artist creating artwork digitally on a computer. This is traditionally done through painting software that uses brushes much like a traditional painting. Digital paintings can also be created through intelligent AI software using text commands. Since the advent of AI-generated art, many have argued that artworks created using AI tools like Midjourney and Dall-E also qualify as digital art until they get their own separate category.
This distinction of not using the traditional way of creating digital art has caused controversy on Twitter where artists and art enthusiasts accused Allen of hastening the death of creative jobs.
Users from both sides, in favour and against AI-generated art, put forward their points on social media. One user claimed that comparing the use of AI to the advent of photography is a gross minimalisation of issues and AI will cost millions of entry-level jobs for artists.

“We’re watching the death of artistry unfold before our eyes,” a Twitter user wrote warning that even creative and high-skill jobs are at risk of becoming obsolete due to automation.

Some even argued that art generated by AI is devoid of any meaning as there is no active thinking of an artist involved.

Allen has responded to the criticism on the Midjourney Discord server. He said people on Twitter who are against AI-generated art are discrediting the human element which is hypocritical.
As per the Vice report, he insists that his input was key to the final piece that won the prize. Despite the controversy, the win has only encouraged Allen and emboldened his mission, he said.
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