Ai-generated artwork wins the competition in us, and artists are furious

By IST (Released)


A man has won first prize in the Colorado State Fair fine art competition using an AI-generated artwork.

Jason Allen, president of Colorado-based tabletop game company Incarnate Games, won first prize in a Colorado State Fair’s annual art competition in the Digital Art and Artists category. But the artists are not happy about it.

According to the state fair’s website, Allen won the Digital Arts/Digital Manipulated Photography category with a work titled “Space Opera Theater.”

Jason Allen, “Sincarnate” on Twitter, revealed he won first place with an AI-generated image printed on canvas. The image, a masterfully crafted painting, which Allen printed onto a canvas for submission, depicts a scene that looks like it came from a space opera. In the picture, classical figures in a baroque hall gaze through a circular window into a sunny, radiant landscape.


Jason Allen was declared the winner even though he did not create the piece himself. This enraged artists online as Allen did not go the traditional route or use a digital brush to create the artwork. Instead, he used an artificial intelligence program called Midjourney to create the artwork based on a text prompt.

However, Allen took the generated image and touched it up in Photoshop before scaling it with Gigapixel. In his post, Allen mentions that he had clearly labeled his state fair submission as “Jason Allen via Midjourney,” Vice reported.

Digital painting or digital artwork involves an artist creating a piece of art digitally on a computer. This is traditionally done using paint software which uses brushes much like traditional paint. Digital paintings can also be created through smart AI software using text commands. Since the advent of AI-generated art, many have argued that artworks created using AI tools like Midjourney and Dall-E also qualify as digital art until which they get their own separate category.

This distinction of not using the traditional way of creating digital art sparked controversy on Twitter where artists and art enthusiasts accused Allen of hastening the death of creative jobs.

Users from both camps, for and against AI-generated art, have made their views known on social media. One user claimed that comparing the use of AI to the advent of photography is a gross understatement of the issues and that AI will cost artists millions of entry-level jobs.

“We are watching the death of art unfold before our eyes,” wrote one Twitter user warning that even creative, highly skilled jobs risk becoming obsolete due to automation.

Some have even argued that AI-generated art is devoid of any meaning because there is no active thought of an artist involved.

Allen responded to the criticism on the Midjourney Discord server. He said people on Twitter who are against AI-generated art are discrediting the human element which is hypocritical.

According to the Vice report, he insists his input was key to the final piece that won the award. Despite the controversy, the win only emboldened Allen and emboldened his mission, he said.

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