September 21 is Independence day in Belize and I am taking the day off
Artificial Intelligence created art. The hottest topic in the art community.
And I am going to wade right in, and give you my input.
I will also reference article from people/groups who see things differently.
All art displayed here today comes from Midjourney and the artist is referenced.
Sincarnate: “I have created 100s of images, and after many weeks of fine tuning and curating my gens, I chose my top 3 and had them printed on canvas after upscaling with Gigapixel A.I. I entered into the Colorado State Fair fine arts competition (digital arts category). I won first place. Here are the results. I’ve set out to make a statement using Midjourney in a competitive manner and wow! I could not be more excited about having won with my favorite piece: “Theatre d’Opera Spatial”
You may have heard about the Midjourney AI created art work that won first prize at the Colorado State Fair. This stirred up a hornet nest.
I think the artist should have been forthcoming with the fact that his art was at a minimum AI assisted if not completely AI created.
Is it Art?
What about copyright?
What will it do for Art overall?
Is it Art?
The disagreement is loud and vocal. The dividing line has “non artists” AI users on one side and conventional artists on the other. Mostly.
I would say the “conventional” artists can be subdivided into physical media artists and digital artists. And a good contingent of the digital artists see opportunities the AI provides to expand their art.
To me – If we accept photography as art then AI created images are art too. After all to create a photographic picture a person pushed the button on a machine. Once.
To simply it a bit. But ….
If Ansel Adams or our own Belizean Tony Rath are artists, then why not the many people who create images by directing an AI with verbal cues to create a picture.
What about copyright?
Copyright has two side. The newly AI created art side and the side of the original art the AI was given to train itself to be able to create.
Legally AI art copyright is up in the air. The first ruling by a judge was NO, you can’t copyright AI art. “Not so fast” was the answer from the art community, and the issue is back in court.
Midjouney – one of the artificial intelligence programs to create AI art has this to say:
Rights you give to Midjourney
By using the Services, you grant to Midjourney, its successors, and assigns a perpetual, worldwide, non-exclusive, sublicensable no-charge, royalty-free, irrevocable copyright license to reproduce, prepare Derivative Works of, publicly display, publicly perform, sublicense, and distribute text, and image prompts you input into the Services, or Assets produced by the service at your direction. This license survives termination of this Agreement by any party, for any reason.
“Subject to the above license, you own all Assets you create with the Services. This does not apply if you fall under the exceptions below. (The exceptions are unpaid members).
Please note: Midjourney is an open community which allows others to use and remix your images and prompts whenever they are posted in a public setting. By default, your images are publically viewable and remixable. As described above, you grant Midjourney a license to allow this. If you purchase a private plan, you may bypass some of these public sharing defaults”.
So with Midjourney you do have the copyright if you are a paid member and claim it. Others may however use your art as is or remix it and claim it as theirs.
In other words, be fast about slapping your copyright claim on your art, better yet, purchase a private plan from Midjourney.
Artist are concerned that the AI is accessing their original works of art as a source to create images. In essence using their work without the right to copy.
Some artists began discovering their artwork in the Stable Diffusion data set, and they weren’t happy about it. Charlie Warzel wrote a detailed report about these reactions for The Atlantic.
I would counter that argument that the same artist who express that outrage see no problem with Pinterest users pinning those same pieces of original art all over the place without permission to copy. Free advertising outweighs copyright concerns.
And – you put your art on the internet – plan to see it pop up places you had not anticipated. That’s the internet for you.
And it is the style not the exact replica of a piece of art that the AI uses. An AI doesn’t take parts of images like puzzle pieces. It only uses images as examples and inspiration. People do not understand how the AI how it works, and are thinking that the AI uses real parts of images. No artworks are being copied.
When you watch an image evolve you see the reference stages it goes through. It is not one picture slowly developing. Someone who looked left a second ago may look right, get taller, get wider, grow a beard … you literally can see the AI scrolling through reference images to come up with a new aggregate image.
What does it do for art overall?
In my mind AI created art expands our reach as artists. Or at least for the ones who chose to use AI art.
Just like photography has not put artist like Pet Portrait and Wildlife Artist Becca Barron out of business, AI art is not going to put a person with a canvas, brushes and paints out of business. And it certainly will not put digital artists out of business.
As it stands a lot of artist use reference images for their creations. And what are they? Creations by other artist or photos.
A lot of digital artist, myself included, combine images from various sources into a new piece of art. You would think that something I created by giving an AI verbal input is more original than a background bought from one of the pictures aggerate websites like Shutterstock.
But will it turn artist into button pushers? Digital artist already use a ton of software to create their images. You still have to have some skill and creative ideas. An AI doesn’t produce masterpieces from crappy input. Unless you verbalize your vision in pretty precise terms you are going to get something, maybe even something real nice, but something other than your vision.
I have this picture on my wall from a Kay Nielson calendar.
Kay Nielsen was born in Copenhagen in 1886 into a family of artists. Both his parents were actors. He studied art in Paris at the Académie Julian and Académie Colarossi from 1904 to 1911.
Kay Nielsen was incredibly popular in the early twentieth century, as an important artist in the ‘Golden Age of Illustration’.
Nielsen joined the ranks of Arthur Rackham
and Harry Clarke in enjoying the success of the burgeoning gift-book market at this time, and is also remembered for his pioneering collaborations with Disney – for whom he contributed many story sketches and illustrations.
Kay Nielsen received his first commission from ‘Hodder and Stoughton’ to illustrate a collection of fairy tales. This was his ‘big break’ and he provided twenty-four beautiful color plates and more than fifteen monotone illustrations for In Powder and Crinoline, Fairy Tales Retold by Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (published in 1913).
In the same year, Kay Nielsen was also commissioned by The Illustrated London News to produce a set of four illustrations: ‘Sleeping Beauty‘, ‘Puss in Boots‘, ‘Cinderella‘ and ‘Bluebeard‘. They were published in the 1913 Christmas Edition and received much applause.
A year later, in 1914, Nielsen provided twenty-five color plates and more than twenty-one monotone images for the children’s story collection ‘East of the Sun and West of the Moon‘. Also in that year, Nielsen produced at least three illustrations depicting scenes from the life of Joan of Arc, accompanying the text of ‘The Monk of Fife‘.
The color images for both In Powder and Crinoline and East of the Sun and West of the Moon were reproduced by a 4-color process, in contrast to many of the illustrations prepared by his fellow artists using the traditional 3-colour process. This instantly set Nielsen apart, and in 1917, he left for New York where an exhibition of his work was held. This was a massive achievement for a relatively new illustrator, and after this success, Nielsen returned to Denmark.
Together with a collaborator, Johannes Poulsen, Kay Nielsen painted stage scenery for the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen. During this time, Nielsen also worked on an extensive suite of illustrations intended to accompany a translation of ‘Scheherazade’s Arabian Nights‘ that had been undertaken by the Arabic scholar, Professor Arthur Christensen.
The onset of World War I brought a break in Nielsen’s illustrating career, so he returned to designing for the stage. After the war, Nielsen illustrated Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen. This was followed by Hansel and Gretel, and Red Magic which would prove to be his last great works.
Kay Nielson then found his art was no longer in demand – and his final years were spent in poverty. Around this time, Nielsen contracted a chronic cough that would plague him until his death on 21st June, 1957. He was seventy-one years old.