A.I. art and it’s potential effects on the art community

Published: Jan. 27, 2023 at 11:50 PM CST
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LAWTON, Okla. (KSWO) - There has been a recent divide in the art community on whether A.I. image generation could be harmful or beneficial to artists. Lawton art experts voiced their thoughts on the subject.

With free programs you can find online like Midjourney and Dreamstudio, it only takes a couple of keywords to produce high-quality images.

“Whenever there is something new in the arts, usually the reaction is fear,” said Cameron University Assistant Art Professor Jack Crouch. “We do talk about technology in the arts quite a bit. Specifically how computers and tablets and photo editing programs have really become a standard tool in not only in graphic design but also in painting.”

The programs let the user explore a seemingly infinite amount of different styles and concepts, allowing them to create a range of images from photo-real portraits to fantastical sceneries.

“I think that it’s cool. I think that it may be helpful for artists who have not found themselves creatively,” said renowned Lawton Artist Robert Peterson.

People in the art community say it does have its benefits and should be used as a reference tool.

Retired art teacher and studio owner Jana Oakman said, “It sounds like something I’ve actually been doing for a long time. Having kids recreate different artists in their own style.“

However, even with the quality these programs can produce, it still lacks the same traits canvas paintings have.

The Executive Director of the Leslie Powell Gallery, Matthew Hughes doesn’t think there’s anything to worry about just yet, saying, “I think anything can be used as a tool to actually help, but like everything, it can be abused as well, and be disingenuous as you say, or dishonest.”

The conversation turns controversial when the topic of who owns an A.I.-generated image comes into play.

“If it’s not a direct copy of the artists’ work, then it’s theirs, and more power to them. I’m not against anybody finding a way to succeed in life and be able to provide for themselves, but if it is something that directly reflects either my work or another artist who I am familiar with or become familiar with, I don’t respect it,” said Peterson.

Crouch said, “Ultimately, the ownership of this is the idea and the act of doing something.”

“There’s nothing new in the universe. We both know that there’s nothing new. It’s like we just kind of keep copying things, but I think in that way, the way you explained it, it would be something you can copy in your own direction,” said Oakman.

Whether you’re for or against the use of A.I. image generation the art community will eventually find a way to work around it as this technology advances.

“Usually in the end, Artists are problem-solving people, and what happens is they find a way to use it to their advantage, and it starts to be just another tool in the toolbox,” Crouch said.