Artificial Intelligence: AI-Generated Artwork Wins First Prize At State Fair; Ignites Controversy

September 2, 2022 | Artificial Intelligence, News
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The artist was Jason Allen, a game designer and Discord user by the username Sincarnate.

Jason Allen has ignited afresh the chatter and debate surrounding AI art after his creation won the first prize in the Colorado State Fair’s art competition in the digital category. Allen’s work was made using Midjourney, the text-to-image AI art creation tool.

Jason Allen went to town with his win, splashing it on Discord under his username of Sincarnate. (ARTnews)

However, digital artist Genel Jumalon took a screenshot of that and posted it on his own Twitter with the comment: “Someone entered an art competition with an AI-generated piece and won the first prize. Yeah that’s pretty fucking shitty.”

Jumalon’s tweet elicited a mix of other comments in support of and panning the development. A common refrain was that creative artists stood to lose their livelihoods to AI.

Allen, however, was unmoved and unapologetic. “I wanted to make a statement using artificial intelligence artwork,” he said in an interview with the Pueblo Chieftain. “I feel like I accomplished that, and I’m not going to apologize for it.”

Though Allen submitted three works, all generated by Midjourney, the winning entry was Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, a striking scene in which three figures stand in a huge room with a huge circular window that looks out onto a distant mountain range.

Is AI disrupting artists’ lives and careers already?

Allen certainly thinks so: “A lot of people are saying, ‘AI is never going to take over creative jobs, that’s never going to be something that artists and sculptors have to worry about.’ And here we are smack in the middle of it, dealing with it right now,” he remarked to the Chieftain.

In any case, Allen clarifies in Discord that he created “100s of images” and spent “many weeks of fine tuning” the AI in order to arrive at the finished pieces – three of which he printed on canvas for submission.

He was awarded a first place blue ribbon and a $300 prize after winning the digital category.

Related Story: OpenAI’s DALL-E 2 Program Draws (And Edits) Images From Text Commands

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