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Is AI Art really art?

Updated: Feb 12, 2023

A question arises in the world of fine art, digital art, NFTs, and mainstream consumerism. Is AI art really art? a question I asked my fast growing following of artists and collectors on twitter. Many of them answered, and a few got very offended. This is a great question, and deserves a spotlight in my blog:

This tweet got a quite a bit of fire to it, as talented exhibited artists such as Constantine Nicholas pose great challenges like:

I answered: "I like this response, truly challenges the mind. It is art, but the quality and prestige varies from person to person embellishing and manipulating the outputs, just like any wielder of any medium. The composition, color scheme, technique, genre, expression, etc. All matter." This is a difficult question to answer indeed, but leaving it to the majority favors AI art being art. The majority calling it a tool, or a brush of some kind.

One such response comes from a fast growing and mysterious talent that is known only as "Ella" owner of Bright Light Art , she is an intriguing artist that has mastered many styles, and in a very short time has grown a large following on twitter. She gives wonderful advice and usually has some fire to spit truth about many topics related to the world of NFTs, crypto, marketing, and fine art:

Short, sweet, and to the point.

Amie Lewis, Founder and owner of NFT Project 76 asked some great Rhetorical questions here:

To which I responded, "Good answer Amie! "There is no must in art, because art is free" - Wassily Kandinsky. I agree wholeheartedly, as being an artist and studying from some of the greatest minds to ever have existed in the world of art even say so themselves. I love Wassily Kandinsky's philosophy here, that there are no rules or stipulations that bind art to any one set of rules or conformities. Art simply is... Now, that being said, I will have to say that there is a fine line between what art is held precious to us, and art that stands next to it in envy. There is indeed a line there, one that covets the cachet that keeps art alive in this ever changing world of fast paced evolving technologies, and the expanse of human interaction and networking through the ever growing density of the internet. 30 years ago, we had to learn things from libraries and believe what people in positions of authority and with money that owned primary networks and editorials told us, and now we have the power to fact check and site sources instantly in the palms of our hands.

There are many extremely talented AI artists out there, that are themselves just "artists" and AI is just a paintbrush, or a tool to create such amazing and unique existences. Some lines from one of my favorite movies The Matrix: The Oracle tells Neo not to worry about the Vase, right before he accidentally knocks it over and breaks it, then The Oracle says, "What will really bake your noodle later on is Would you still have broken it if I hadn't said anything". One of my favorite lines from one of the best surreal sci-fi films of all time: The Matrix -credit the Wachowski sisters. The analogy: If AI tools hadn't been invented and we are not using them, would we ever have come this far? In other words: Without art, without the rich history of innovative thinking, intellectual and cultured conversations about humankind's greatest gift, these technological advancements in AI and machine learning code might never have existed. The same could be said about some of the most amazing inventions of the recent era, would the artist have ever discovered such tantalizing beauty and mystery without the aid of such a tool? Noodle baking isn't it?

In the above zoomquilt animation, "Eye See You", I managed to take advantage of AI tools for the first time in creating this video, in a way I never thought was possible. I usually hand-draw these and they can take anywhere from 8 hours to several 8 hour shifts over the span of a week to create. This one in particular took me about the same amount of time to create as I would normally take just drawing it out by hand. The amount of work involved is pretty intensive, I used DALLE 2 to out-paint frames, and had to edit and use content-aware-fill editing on each frame in the zoom manually in photoshop to splice them together seamlessly, and to my liking. I arranged the animation in Adobe After Effects, which also requires doing lots of Math. in this instance: 366.67+((1/.3)^24)*100, which is the amount of zoom percentage I had to end the video at after scaling each layer together.

I also usually compose and play the music myself, but because I went all out using AI, I decided to use Mubert : a generative AI music program. I purchased a creator license for commercial use, and this tool creates sounds very quickly for certain moods and activities, which are perfect for videos like this, or for social media and NFTs in general.

Some of the Best in AI art I have come across include artists like Thomas Intuitive Art who displays a beautifully crafted portfolio below, where he spends countless hours perfecting each image, splicing, merging and changing outputs to his liking. You can't simply spit lines into a generative art program to get results like this, you have to be an artist and use AI as a tool much like a paintbrush. Any of the available photoshop filters or light blending tools, and textures in 3D animations used by some of the most popular creators such as Mike Winkelmann, creator of Beeple Crap, are simply preset rules of code that make our jobs as artists more intuitive and diverse. In 2022, AI is just another amazing tool.

Art has always been about creativity and self-expression. It's about breaking free from the constraints of society and pushing boundaries. The same could be said for Artificial Intelligence. With the advancements in technology, AI has become an integral part of our lives, providing us with new and exciting ways to express ourselves. It's not surprising, then, that AI has found its way into the world of art. The question remains, however: is AI art truly considered art?

To answer this, we must first understand what art truly is. Art is not just about creating something that looks good or is aesthetically pleasing. It's about using one's imagination to create something unique and personal. It's about exploring new ideas and concepts, and using different mediums to express those ideas. In this sense, AI art is indeed art because it provides a new and unique way for artists to express themselves.

Art is also about freedom. It's about breaking away from the constraints of society and exploring new possibilities. This is where AI art shines. AI algorithms are not limited by human biases or preconceived notions. They are free to create whatever they want, unrestricted by human limitations. This freedom is what sets AI art apart and makes it truly unique.

Moreover, AI art is not just about creating images or animations. It's about creating entire new forms of expression that were previously impossible. For example, AI can create music, write poems, or even generate entire works of fiction. This opens up new avenues for artists to explore and pushes the boundaries of what is considered art.

In conclusion, AI art is art because it embodies the essence of what art truly is: creativity, self-expression, and freedom. It provides a new and unique form of expression that was previously impossible, and pushes the boundaries of what is considered art.

"AI art is art because art is free," is indeed accurate, and it reminds me of the aforementioned quote from the Grandfather of Non-Objective Abstract art himself, Wassily Kandinsky. AI art is free from the constraints of society, human biases, and preconceived notions, allowing it to explore new possibilities and create truly unique works of art.

I hope you enjoyed my synopsis and analysis of AI art. If you are an artist, consider testing out new paintbrushes. If you are an art appreciator, curator, or historian, consider accepting the evolution of your field for what it is, and adding a new and ubiquitous advancement to your language community and repertoire.

Always remember to support art, support artists, take care of each other in this world. If you see something you like, share it! Sharing is what gets artists like the above mentioned talents noticed, and paid.

Plant trees,

Support Artists,

Save The World With Art™

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