Artificial intelligence (AI) has penetrated into more and more aspects of our daily lives – from writing to driving, so it makes sense for artists to experiment with it as well. AI software can generate artistic images based on a series of prompts or a simple sentence. Although the results are striking, the use of such programs raises many questions about the future of creativity and originality. As of now, AI has been used to write pop ballads, mimic the styles of famous painters, and inform creative decisions in the film industry. Experts in this domain question how far it can or should be involved in the creative process. 

AI products often come with disclaimers and warnings of risks and limitations. In April, the artificial intelligence company OpenAI released a content policy and risks and limitations document when it unveiled DALL-E 2, an AI system that can generate realistic images and art from natural language descriptions and prompts. DALL-E 2 is a great tool for an artist to explore concepts that could be built upon to create works of art. The system generates vivid and realistic photos, paintings, and illustrations based on descriptions or uploaded images. However, when art creation is made easy by such tools, it also opens up Pandora’s box of evils. Such software can be easily misused for deception and to instigate hatred and violence in the community – and hence the safety mitigations by OpenAI to avoid such abuse. 

Artificial intelligence, interestingly, has been used for many years to create art. The earliest computer-generated artworks appeared in galleries and museums in the late 1970s. Through the intervening decades, AI has become increasingly sophisticated, and its capabilities have been used to create realistic and lifelike artworks. 

AI tools are undoubtedly having a significant impact on the art world. AI painting generators like DALL-E 2, NightCafe, Jasper Art, and Deep Dream Generator, enable artists to create more intricate and complex pieces than ever before and experiment with various styles and techniques. Artists also heavily use AI tools to create pieces that are completely unpredictable, random, and original. This opens up an ethical debate – can AI-generated art be called original?  

Is AI art a temporary buzz, or is it here to stay? This is a question that most of us probably wonder. Let’s explore how some AI-generated art is reshaping the future of traditional art and artists. 

1. AI tools save artists time 

With AI art tools, artists can quickly visualize their ideas, thereby increasing their productivity and having more time to be creative. For example, artists can view the effects of different lighting, color combinations, strokes, angles, etc using AI art tools and design their work in the most aesthetic manner. What was earlier done manually, consuming several days and maybe weeks, can now be visualized within minutes.  This also allows artists to iterate more freely on their sketches and explore new horizons. The increased productivity also translates into more pieces of work and revenue for the artists.

2. AI helps artists create new styles of art and expand their creativity

AI-art is becoming a new genre of art, according to many. This new genre is built using clever algorithms and is more accurately called neural network art. Artists can play around with the plethora of algorithms, parameters, and rules, to explore new strokes, styles, and aesthetics. This helps them envision their ideas more effectively and helps them create novel works of art. Sometimes, AI can help artists push through their barriers of imagination and unleash their creativity in a more liberated way. Such exploration is also possible in traditional art but is limited by the time and effort it consumes. 

3. AI can mimic popular styles and artists

Powerful algorithms can be trained to mimic the styles of popular and even long-dead artists. This is both a bane and a boon. While it can allow an artist to get inspired by multiple art styles and create a new style altogether that is an amalgamation of several styles, it can also result in copyright violations and frauds.

4. Pushes the boundaries of art creation

The concept of art is so broad that it takes time to define clearly. Art is more than a museum painting. Modern art excels at pushing the boundaries of what is considered art. Anything can be art, as long as people perceive it as one. Artificial intelligence has expanded the boundaries of artistic expression beyond canvases and brushes. While AI art has been subjected to much debate, this has indeed raised the horizon of traditional art and artists. 

How can AI expand an artist’s horizon? 

Using AI as a creative tool, artists experiment with algorithms, rules, and parameters to analyze thousands of images. This enables a grasp of a specific creation process, such as a particular style or aesthetic. New styles can be built, inspired by different artistic styles through such an experimentative approach. Thus, AI artists collaborate with creative coders, statisticians, computer scientists, and neuroscientists to create machines that are as creative as humans. 

Let’s look at a few cases where AI is used to expand an artist’s horizon.  

  1. A case of how artists use AI to imagine famous characters in different worlds and settings. 
  2. AI reimagining popular brand logos in the style of famous artists which includes Banksy, Pollock, and da Vinci.
  3. How a Nigerian AI artist reimagines a stylish old age.

Role of AI in art

An artist’s creation is always subjectively analyzed, and perhaps that’s the beauty of it. Many new styles in art were initially ridiculed, spurned-ironized, or viewed as a  tactic to stand out by the artist. In spite of the debates surrounding AI in art, artificial intelligence can positively influence and enrich the global art landscape directed by talented artists. The advancements in AI and machine learning provide artists and designers with an efficient tool to expand and assist their creativity. Artificial intelligence and machines cannot work autonomously and require a human in the loop, in this case, artists, to guide and refine their outputs. Thus, it is highly unlikely that AI will replace artists. However, it will probably be the case that artists leveraging AI may have an edge over those who don’t! 



Edited By: Naga Vydyanathan