AI-Generated Artwork Wins First Place in State Fair Fine Art Competition

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An anonymous reader quotes a Motherboard report: A man came first in the Colorado State Fair fine arts competition using an AI-generated illustration on Monday. “I won first place,” a user named Sincarnate said in a Discord post above photos of the AI-generated canvases hung at the fair. Sincarnate’s name is Jason Allen, who is president of Colorado-based tabletop gaming company, Incarnate Games. According to state fair website (PDF), he won in the digital art category with a work entitled “Theatre D’opera Spatial”. The image, which Allen printed on canvas for submission, is stunning. It depicts an eerie scene that looks like it came from a space opera, and it looks like a masterfully done painting. Classical figures in a baroque hall staircase pass through a circular window into a sunny, radiant landscape.

But Allen didn’t paint “Theatre D’opera Spatial”, the artificial intelligence software called Midjourney did. He used his prompts, but Allen didn’t use a digital brush. The accolade sparked controversy on Twitter where working artists and enthusiasts accused Allen of hastening the death of creative jobs. “TL;DR — Someone entered an art contest with an AI-generated work and won first prize,” artist Genel Jumalon said in a viral tweet on Allen’s victory. “Yeah, that’s pretty shitty.” “We watch the death of art unfold before our eyes”, a Twitter user passing by OmniMorpho said in a reply which gained over 2,000 likes. “If creative jobs aren’t machine-proof, then even highly skilled jobs risk becoming obsolete. What will we have then?” “I knew it would be controversial,” Allen said Tuesday on the Midjourney Discord server. “How interesting how all these people on Twitter who are against AI-generated art are the first to throw the human under the bus discrediting the human element! hypocrite?”

He added: “I explored a special prompt which I will post later, I created hundreds of images using it, and after several weeks of fine-tuning and curating my folks, I chose my top 3 and had them printed on canvas after unchaining with Gigapixel AI,” he wrote in a post before the winners were announced.

“What if we looked at it from the other extreme, and if an artist did a series of extremely difficult and complicated constraints in order to create a piece, say, they made their art by being hung upside down and whipped in painting”, he said. “Should this artist’s work be valued differently than another artist who created the same piece ‘normally’? I know what will happen to this in the end, they will just create an ‘art of the ‘artificial intelligence’ I imagine for things like that.”

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