AI-generated photo wins first place prize in Colorado art competition

‘We’re watching the death of artistry’: Human creators in a uproar after AI-generated photo depicting a medieval era in a futuristic world wins the first place prize of $300 in Colorado art competition

  • AI-generated artwork was submitted in the digital category of an art competition at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition
  • The artwork won first place, which included a $300 prize and a blue ribbon
  • Human creators are in an uproar about the win, saying it takes away from true artists who work hard to create their artwork 

Artwork created by artificial intelligence (AI) was awarded a first place blue ribbon and a $300 prize after winning the digital category at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition, but human creators are furious about the news – with one saying the world is ‘watching the death of artistry unfold.’

The AI artwork, dubbed Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, was submitted by Jason Allen, the president of a Pueblo-based gaming company Incarnate Games, who said he used Midjourney to make the stunning scenes that appear to combine medieval times with a futuristic world.

Midjourney is an AI program that creates images from textual descriptions.

Allen announced his win on Discord, an instant messaging social platform where he goes by the name Sincarnate, which then spread to Twitter where users shared their distaste that artwork generated by AI was chosen over those created by a human – one user stated ‘that’s pretty f*cking sh*tty.’

The Colorado resident appears to not be bothered by the criticism, as Allen notes on Discord how Twitter users are against AI-generated art, but are also ‘the first to throw the human under the bus by discrediting the human element.’

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Pictured is the first prize winning photo in a Colorado art competition. The image was generated by an AI system

PCMagazine reports that a spokesperson for the Colorado State Fair said the judges were not aware the artwork was generated by an AI system.

The individual, however, stated that there are no rules against using AI to create artwork for the digital art category – at the moment that is.

Allen’s Discord post reveals he used Midjourney to create ‘100s of images’ and selected the top three, which he then had printed on canvas after upscaling the images with Gigapixel A – a system that enhances details and resolution of digital images.

A Twitter user going by OmniMorpho tweeted: ‘We’re watching the death of artistry unfold before our eyes.

Human creators are in an uproar after hearing about the win and shared their frustrations on Twitter

‘If creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete. What will we have then?’

Allen, however, knew the win ‘would be controversial,’ he shared on Discord, while also noting that AI-generated art will eventually become its own category.

‘What if we looked at it from the other extreme, what if an artist made a wildly difficult and complicated series of restraints in order to create a piece, say, they made their art while hanging upside-down and being whipped while painting,’ he shared on Discord.

‘Should this artist’s work be evaluated differently than another artist that created the same piece ‘normally’? I know what will become of this in the end, they are simply going to create an ‘artificial intelligence art’ category I imagine for things like this.’

The creator of the AI-powered images said he created hundreds with the system and chose his  three favorites that were then printed on canvas

A TikTok  user (in July ) asked a text-to-image AI to generate images of what it thinks the last selfies ever taken will be. One of the images is of a man in riot gear watching in horror as bombs drop behind him

AI-generated art is not a new topic, but it is starting to become more popular. It allows creators to design imaginative scenes by telling the system exactly what they want.

The technology, however, has developed over the years – more than five years ago systems were produce nightmare blobs and now it can create epic, detailed scenes.

In July, a TikToker asked Midjourney to create what it thinks the last selfie ever taken will be.

The system showed humans snapping photos of themselves with melting skin, blood smeared faces and mutated bodies, while standing in front of a world that is burning.

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