• Loveday Funck

Will AI Art Replace the Artist?

While I already created a blog post on the potential of AI art a few weeks ago, I realized that I needed to revisit the topic already.

I recently created a video for my YouTube series, "Becoming an Artist Later in Life", on whether artists should be afraid of AI Art. Although I felt I addressed most of the current controversy, I received several comments from people expressing their concern about what AI art was going to do to their livelihood.

While AI art possesses almost boundless potential, the technology isn't quite there. I know that digital artists and illustrators are definitely feeling the cold not-breath of the changing technology on the back of their necks. Given enough time, AI art could start to take some of the work currently performed by skilled illustrators.

But not yet.

Twenty years ago, digital photography began to come into its own. Traditional photographers feared for their livelihood. They feared that anyone could pick up a camera and call themselves a professional photographer whereas before professionals had to possess a lot of experience and nohow to develop their work in their own darkroom.

I believe that digital photography did open the door for a lot of people who felt intimidated by the chemicals and the mysteries of the dark room. Digital photography made becoming a photographer a little less overwhelming.

Someone commented on my video that digital photography was the reason why there was widespread closure of a lot of professional portrait studios that had been open for decades. That may be true for the one size fits all type of professional portrait studios, but my stance that independent photographers flourished with the new technology stands.

Some doors closed but many new doors and windows flew open with the new technology just as it has in so many industries over the past few decades. The world is in a constant state of technological evolution. No matter how much we may want something to stay as it is, we can't stop the changes and advances.

I continue to believe that fine art is in no danger. The people that like to support local artists and small businesses will continue to do just that. They will continue to go to the local markets and buy art. People want the story that goes with the artist and the art.

The upper echelon will continue to go to high-end galleries and purchase art as investments. None of that will change with the advent of AI art.

I do acknowledge that those of us in the digital art community may have reason to be concerned, but I also think that we can embrace this technology as another tool in our arsenal. I've been working with MidJourney for the past couple of months.

A lot of time has been wasted writing prompts and rerolling and rerolling the results, but I've generated some truly cool pieces that I've been working at incorporating into my own art practice.

As a digital artist, I already used bits and pieces from a large variety of sources. I love when I can use my own photography as a primary source, but sometimes I just don't have the right source material. I've used sites like Unsplash to fill in those holes but there is something exciting about being able to generate my own source material with the technology available through AI art.

For me, it's become just another tool, but I am warily excited about the possibilities. Even in the few weeks that I've been playing with MidJourney, the results have improved in leaps and bounds.

In the face of a changing world, we must adapt. We can evolve our art practice in wonderful new ways if we remain open to the possibilities.

I believe that the story of who we are as artists and as people is the cornerstone of our art practice and technology no matter how dazzling or seductive cannot change that fundamental fact.

Continue to make connections. Continue to tell your stories and create your art. Technology cannot replicate you or the power of your experiences.

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