Is AI a Threat to Traditional Artists?

In my last post, I started some on how AI could revolutionize the art scene, more specifically how it could relate to photography. I’m not against AI, but I recognize its potential for good and bad. But, should traditional artists should be too concerned?

A quick note on my perspective: I’m not anti-AI, but I recognize its potential for good and bad. In fact, I’ve helped implement things AI has to offer at FinerWorks. While I’m not an expert on everything AI but do follow some of the architects of various versions and I do have an IT background relating to software development.

With that said, the next point I want to talk about comes more from the traditional artist’s perspective. So the question comes, will AI have a negative impact on the traditional artist that paints or draws? I don’t think so and here is why:

There are some advancements in printing technology which has been around a while. And that is printing which can simulate the texture of raised brush strokes. At FinerWorks, we ourselves have had printers with this technology for a few years now. I have also seen some incredible improvements even over what we have recently.

Another technology that is also out there is painting software. This has been around for years. These can take a photo or other image and apply painterly effects such as brush strokes that match certain types of painting methods and brushes. It can also emulate certain well-known artist styles. Now AI can also do this.

As a matter of fact, as in my previous article illustrating how AI can take a concept and generate an image, you could have it create an image from scratch that has a painterly effect like the below example from the DALL-E website.

A Van Gogh-style painting of an American football player generated by AI. Note, I tried to generate this by querying DALL-E but the results I got were not quite as impressive as the above example.

Hypothetically, and I am sure at some point if not already, you will be able to marry both of these technologies to create AI-generated paintings that are printed with texture and look like original pieces of artwork. With the growing popularity of AI Artists (real people that use AI to generate their digital art), I would not be surprised if someone is already doing this.

But honestly, I do not believe a traditional artist has cause for concern. For one reason, while AI-generated art is fast becoming popular, traditional galleries may show some reluctance to represent those artists. That may change at some point since we saw a similar reluctance at one point with giclee prints when it was a new technology but will buyers be open to it? In many cases, fine art is an emotional buy. And there is something about an original piece of artwork that draws buyers. I am not sure if AI-generated art can have that same emotional appeal but we will see.

The other reason I believe it will not harm traditional artists is I think many will come to find it has benefits to their craft. This could range from using AI-generated imagery for inspiration or even as reference material for a new painting. It could also mean artists could use AI’s vast knowledge base to better position themselves in front of potential buyers. And finally, artists can use AI to better promote themselves by generating written content that is more likely to be discoverable online.

And I will end this with that last point. Next, we will be discussing how AI can be used by artists of all types, whether digital artists, traditional artists, or a photographer can use AI to improve their ability to be found by potential buyers as well as gain followers.

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3 Replies to “Is AI a Threat to Traditional Artists?”

  1. I agree with what you stated and back it up with my work. I’ve worked as a digital mixed media artist since 1987. Now I’m teaching and exhibiting worldwide.

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    San Miguel de Allende, Mexico – The Instituto Allende in San Miguel de Allende is proud to announce that acclaimed artist Lon Levin will be teaching digital art and AI courses starting this semester. Levin is a celebrated artist who has exhibited his work in galleries and museums around the world.

    The courses taught by Levin will explore the intersection of technology and art, providing students with a unique opportunity to learn about the latest trends and techniques in digital art and AI. Students will gain hands-on experience with various digital tools and software, allowing them to create compelling works of art that incorporate the latest technology.

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  2. Excellent article.
    I love your idea of AI being used to generate a reference image for a painting. Seems like a very legitimate use of technology with a goal of inspiration.

    One more reason that AI should not (yet) be a threat to traditional artists, is that it is possible, by manual means, or by existing software, to detect and flag an AI-generated photograph or painting. If the issuer is being up-front, and states that the work was generated through AI, that’s one thing. If their intent is to defraud the recipient, and present that same work as entirely their own, therein lies the problem, and there could or should be some incumbency with the receiving host (online gallery, etc), on behalf of their customers, to screen images and demand that the work be advertised as AI-generated. Some sites already do this.
    As an afterthought, is FinerWorks doing this type of screening, or do you have plans to, or see a need to?
    Just a curiosity.
    Love your posts.

  3. Great write up! I’m actually doing this now. I’ve made an entire gorgeous art collection and have sold my pieces already. My last piece sold for $400 , it’s a 48×48 on canvas. The buyer and I talked about the piece being painted. That’s what brought me here to your site. Is there an email that I may message you on?

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