Artists infuriated as AI art steals first place in competition

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Artificial Intelligence is becoming a major player in the art world, and a number of artists are not happy with that fact. Case in point: a horde of angry artists are upset after AI art took first place in a recent competition.

How did AI art win a competition?

Artists were baffled earlier this week when an AI art piece took home first place at this years Colorado State Fair. Initially believed to be a human-made piece, the winning exhibit was actually made with Midjourney AI.

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Via Twitter, Incarnate Games’ Jason Allen posted in a Discord channel that they had taken home the first place award using AI art. The winner explained that they used thousands of attempts to create images worthy of the competition using a “special prompt”.

Allen’s winning piece “Théâtre D'opéra Spatial” was one of three images entered into the Digital Art category. The image was printed into canvas and then entered alongside hand drawn digital art.

To be fair to Allen, the piece is an extraordinary picture. As a piece of art, the mystical, fantastical opera is absolutely stunning. However, it does feel like a slap in the face to those who spend hours upon hours toiling with digital brushes.

We’ve used Midjourney a lot, and we know how hard it can be to get the image you want. On the other hand, we also know that it is nowhere near as intensive as creating actual artwork ourselves. The two are not comparable.

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Real artists are infuriated

As expected, actual artists are not happy that AI-generated art is being entered into competitions against humans. As AI can generate images in seconds, with many copying real peoples’ art styles, it’s simply not fair for the two to compete.

Via Vice, multiple artists spoke out on social media about the issues with AI art. Some even went as far as to claim that this is the death of artists all together.

“We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes,” said one Twitter user. “If creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete. What will we have then?”

Perhaps AI art could be its own category in the future. On the other hand, maybe it doesn’t need to be.