Is AI-generated digital paintings the future of art?

Image generated using Midjourney
Image generated using Midjourney

Jason Allen from Colorado won a prize for the best art in a statewide art competition recently. That is all nice and good. However, the issue was the following: Jason did not paint the art piece called “Théâtre D'opéra Spatial” himself. It was generated by a computer using an artificial intelligence (A.I.) program called MidJourney Beta, that is hosted on the chat server Discord. 

The piece of art so generated is quite striking. Yes, this is generated by MidJourney, and it is, to any eye, indistinguishable from what we call 'good' art. It can easily pass for yet another 'undiscovered' masterpiece from some old classical painter. Its quite mesmerizing, to say the least.

MidJourney is an A.I. program to which you give a few text prompts (such as: "blonde woman holding her husband's hand in Chicago waterfront, watercolor, sepia") and then it generates a digital artwork based on the prompts. This is nothing short of magical. There are a few other such programs, the most famous among them being DALL-E 2. 

One wonders if this is the beginning of the end of human hand generated art? Well, it may be. I love to draw and paint, and the computer is not going to take that away from me. However, I suppose the market for human-generated artwork may become a curiosity hundred years into future. It may or may not be good for artists that make a living from art. 

Such is the march of technology.


1. A collection of  MidJourney generated art samples.

2. Jason Allen in news.

3. Colorado state art fair.

4. How to use Midjourney


Paolo said…
What rule willingly did not comform ?
Amit Basu said…
@Paolo : I believe all rules of the competition were followed, and the A.I. generated entry won the prize.
Paolo said…
Some old fashion artist would say that his art is against... fill the dots ... stands for ...
Amit Basu said…
Thats true, I suppose. An artist typically paints based on some idea in his/her mind, and therefore the art does stand for that idea. It is conceivable that an AI generated art could also be based in future on ideas. The point to ponder is this: different human artists produce different art based on the same idea. Will AI do the same? If the program is trained with "all" available art, will it always produce the same/similar art for the same idea input?
Himali said…
Tragic for art done by hand!!
In a few text prompts, a complete painting is produced!
Amit Basu said…
@HImali : Indeed. A.I. generated art may kill future human generated art. That will be tragic.
Uma said…
Interesting & beautiful painting generated by Midjourney. Not sure how complicated it is to
Instruct the program in text, but this art work is exquisite. Probably I would personally like to purchase the original hand painted artwork though if I had the money! It is similar to lab created vs genuine diamond, which one would you buy?
Amit Basu said…
@Uma : In case of diamonds, if they shine the same way, are they both the same?
S said…
Will miss the struggle and the joie de vivre, that leads to great art, and the lore around such

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