Last week, a 39-year-old who used artificial intelligence to make his art earned first place in the fine art competition at the Colorado State Fair (AI). The creator of the artwork seems unconcerned that the discovery has rekindled the contentious discussion about the use of AI in art.
The winner, Jason Allen, is the CEO of the Colorado-based Incarnate Games company. With a piece titled “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” or “Space Opera Theater,” he took first place in the digital art category.
As the title suggests, the artwork shows figures in robes peering out of a viewport in a space environment. Space opera and classical Baroque elements are combined in this piece.
It was produced using Midjourney, an AI programme that turns text inputs into pictures. Since July 2022, when the software’s beta version became accessible, people without any prior artistic skill have been able to produce incredibly detailed pieces of art.
AI-generated art is criticised for lacking true artistry or competence, according to critics like this one. They claim that turning prompts into art is similar to painting by numbers. Midjourney can produce a digital artwork that would typically take hours or even days in a matter of minutes.
After Allen’s tweet about his prize-winning artwork went viral, it received a lot of negative feedback.
Users typically select the best results from a number of versions that Midjourney produces using the prompts. Allen allegedly went through hundreds of draughts before selecting the top three and printing them on canvas. According to sources, he submitted it under the name “Jason M Allen via Midjourney” in the digital art category, which indicated that he had informed the judges of the nature of the work.
The category’s regulations reportedly let any “artistic endeavour that employs digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process.” This may imply that utilising AI tools to make art is equivalent to using other programmes like Photoshop. However, the judges claimed that even if they had known that Midjourney was an AI programme, they would still have chosen Allen as the winner.
Many predict that when AI-based becomes more and more popular, a new category will be developed to keep it separate from other types of digital art.