Artificial Intelligence Art Controversy - Is AI Art Real?

There were a couple of controversies that took place in the art world recently. Two AI generated images won first place prizes in the art competitions they were submitted to. One of the AI generated images won at the local State fair in Colorado in 2022. And now recently (April 2023) Boris Eldagsen, submitted an AI generated image to a World Photography Organization's (Sony World Photography Awards) competition and also won first place after the judges picked the image to be the winner of the contest. Both incidents created big uproad in the worlds of art, photography and of course Twitter. These events brought back up a long time debate of whether the process of creating the artwork or the finished product (the artwork itself), gives value to the artwork and makes it "real art".

What is Art?

Anyone would think, the answer to this question should be quite obvious. Art is basically something that a person creates using their skills, tools and imagination. Then the art is displayed somewhere, where people can see it, and have an opportunity to evaluate it. As they say, the value of art is in the eye of a beholder. Which kinda tells us that art is quite a subjective matter and is up for anyone's interpretation, as they see fit.

However, throughout the history of the art, as people started to sell and acquire it. Monetary value had to be attributed to the art, in order to buy and sell it. We all have heard and know some pieces of art that have sold for millions of dollars. While at the same time,  once can buy and art work for $20 dollars at the local department store...

So where exactly does the piece of art derive its value from? 

california sunset palm trees oceanscape

Sweet Dreams California - Modern Wall Art (click to purchase)


What Makes Art Valuable?

At a first glance, some people will tell you, the value of the art derives from the aesthetic of the art piece itself. Basically from the way the artwork looks as a finished product. When the person looks at it, they might observe it for a minute the process it through their thoughts and feelings and come up with their unique subjective sense of value for it. Those people will usually tell you that appearance and what it represents is usually enough reason for them to decide whether the artwork has any value to them or not. Whether It's something they would purchase or just happy to look at.

However, since humans are multidimensional species (we come in different shapes and sizes and most importantly having different preferences). There is another group of people who claim the value of the art does not derive ONLY from its final form - the way it looks as a finished product. But rather, it comes from the way it was created.... What kind of medium and tools did the artist use when creating it? How long did it take them to make it? What materials were used in creation of the artwork and even the story behind the artist or even the reputation of the artist is a deciding factor-who the artist is/was. 

It seems that this dichotomy was born in recent times only. Mainly because of the rapid technological advancement and the way it influenced the world of art. As the new materials, mediums, tools were being created, people started coming up with new ways of expressing themselves that naturally challenged the old ways of doing things. 

For example, when photography cameras were invented, they naturally challenged the art of painted realism. Because a camera can capture a scene in real life exactly as you saw it, and it did it quicker. In the same way, newly emerging AI generated art is disrupting the digital photography world. And its opponents argue that it is not "real" art. Because, supposedly, it doesn't even require a human to create it. Which isn't entirely true, either.

Ironically, the above-mentioned AI images have won competitions, because of how they appeared to the judges in their final form. As finished product only. Judges had no knowledge of how the artwork was created. They were judging all artworks using the same criteria equally across all images, regardless of how and how they were created.

new york skyline photography prints

Man Vs. Nature - New York Photos (click to purchase this print)

Creative Process

Just because media, technology and tools improve, it doesn't mean that creative human input is no longer necessary. It is and hopefully will always stay necessary. The AI still needs human input to tell it what to write an article about. Or what kind of image it needs to create and requires precise directions in order to do so. At least for now, until it figures out how to control itself and decides what kind of artwork IT wants to produce on its own art. 

Remember, only the tools and the media changes. The creative process will never change. It will still be up to the artist to envision what he wants to create, regardless which media or tools he chooses to use. As far as I'm concerned, all new tools do, is provide artists with more different options to create with. Which means the more, newer tools we have, the more creative people will become. The more new ways of creating art will be invented.

Will it be accepted by everyone. Of course not. Some will like natural art, some will like new art. All this does is create new art categories, with many amazing works in each one. AI generated art is just a newly invented category. There is nothing wrong with it, and many people will find value in it as well. Soon enough, we will hear about the first AI generated image sold for some sum in a few million dollars. It will happen, and that is the inescapable reality of art and life.



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Meet The Artist

Hello, I'm Eddie Jongas, travel and photography is my passion. After moving to Los Angeles years ago, I was mesmerized by the beauty of the entire West Coast and have dedicated my current life to capturing its beauty with my camera.

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