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Creative Tool or Artistic Nemesis: AI is Here to Stay

The best way to change anything is to create your own unique path and ignore everything else.

What is the Question?

Plagiarism is the claimed threat. Did the copier, crafty counterfeiter, and Photoshop pose existential threats to creativity as each emerged to reproduce and alter original works from the creative cannon?

Who decides what counts as art?

Are we better or worse for inventing technology that has become the creative ally to many a well-healed artist in their time?

Is the threat of plagiarism more acute than the fear that the art market, tiny in comparison to all other markets in global commerce, will be squeezed even smaller by AI?

Is there a fear that the wonders of AI will move wealthy patrons of the worldwide art market to reallocate their buying power from paintings and sculptures to NFTs, crypto, and AI-generated art?

The following is a generative AI blooper real from 100s of generated failures at TheTechMargin. For every good video, there are many attempts before the prompt creates a usable moving image. It is amusing and weird, creepy perhaps, but not worth fearing, at least not in this incarnation.

Multi and Cross-Discipline

What art is and what art is not. Can we even answer this objectively?

Technology is defined: as the application of scientific knowledge for practical purposes, especially in industry.

Art is defined: as the expression or application of human creative skill and imagination, typically in a visual form such as painting or sculpture, producing works to be appreciated primarily for their beauty or emotional power.

but also…

Art is defined as a skill at doing a specified thing, typically acquired through practice, e.g., the art of conversation.

One of my avatars doing what I do and looking a lot like I do too.

Throughout history, artists have been the first to figure out the wrong way to use technology for their benefit.

Artists who embrace new tech are placing themselves in the rank of other trailblazers before them and joining the camp of discipline-hopping renegades that tend to invent important things. Think DaVinci, Cher with autotune, Maria Sibylla Merian with ecology, Samuel Morse (Morse Code), and many others.

Your opinion of whether an artist is good or not does not change the truth that artists who explore beyond their confines almost always impact both art and the other disciplines they explore. Society wins when artists partake in coloring outside the lines of their discipline.

Is it easier to define what art is not?

Probably not, but why not try and add to the dialogue with an attempt? Let us say anything not conceived by a human's mind shall count as not art.

Therefore…

Anything that begins as an idea and ends in the execution of the idea could be considered art from a subjective standpoint.

Ideas being things that we will define as having originated inside the mind of a human being.

An idea can only be original if it is uniquely human.

Granted, this is a broad definition of art, but I include Ray, who repairs old Ferraris as shiny as new, Leanne, who transforms dirty blondes into happy platinum, and Heather, who runs and optimizes her team like a ship captain who always has a happy and willing crew. Each of them is an artist in their own right.

If I were to keep this dialogue isolated to the fine art world, it would be a niche within a niche. Most artists are not fine artists and will not dip their toe in the haute world of commercial fine art. I gathered some statistics to demonstrate this point because, honestly, for something as important as art, the market size is surprising, especially when compared to consumer goods:

2023 Global Market Size Comparison

Also, one of the most irritating things is when people believe they have the right to declare what is and is not.

Art critics will be art critics, and frustrated people will look for a cause for their problems outside of themselves; there have always been the builders and the critics, and likely, there always will be. What would we rally against if opinionated paperweights did not hold strong opinions?

So, when considering what constitutes art, I shall include anyone who sees their work as art (even art critics and opinionated paperweights if they want to be included).

Now that we have a superset defined that is large enough to warrant rifling some feathers, we can segment the types of art to our hearts' content.

The conversation will continue regardless of your participation.

What if the issue is not AI but ourselves? We are not ready for a tool that makes us even more passive. Passive consumerism does not an independent thinker make. Arguments that incite fear should be first to the veracity test.

For example—

Many artists and critics vehemently oppose AI-generated art, citing concerns about its lack of originality, the devaluation of human creativity, and the potential for AI to replace human artists. Some argue that AI art is not "real" art, as it lacks human-created works' emotional depth and personal touch. Others worry that AI-generated art will flood the market, making it difficult for human artists to make a living.

These arguments are bringing a scalpel to a zombie apocalypse. Let's get clear on this once and for all: AI is a tool, a technology. AI is not endowed with all the traits you are insecure about not having. AI is a tool.

Therefore, AI is not making art. Suppose a lazy person uses AI to create something without any thought of what they are making (with no idea). In that case, they are no different than a lazy person from another decade using a photocopier to reproduce a copied image and claim that as an original work.

But are we missing the point whilst battling for scraps of minutia with this plagiarism debate? Yup.

There are so many ways we can shape these tools simply by participating in experimentation. Cross-discipline advancements are rapidly occurring as scientists and thinkers experiment with AI as a tool in their kit.

Artists of all ilks are wise to be curious.

An idea can only be original if it is uniquely human. Humans have always shared ideas across time and space.

This is my avatar; it is not me but my creation.

Experiment before conclusion, and follow the scientific method, the artist's way.

Imperative to success (in any domain), keep your mind open.

What are the myriad ways AI could be used by artists, creatively and for their business?

Creative Uses of AI for Artists:

  1. Idea Generation: AI can analyze vast amounts of data and generate unique concepts that could inspire an artist's subsequent creative work. It can make unexpected connections between diverse ideas, sparking the artist's imagination.

  2. Visual Exploration: AI-generated images can serve as starting points for new artworks. AI algorithms can create abstract patterns, morph existing images, or generate unique compositions that artists can incorporate into their work.

  3. Stylistic Experimentation: Artists can use AI to experiment with different artistic styles, blending techniques and aesthetics in novel ways. This can help them push the boundaries of their creative expression.

  4. Collaborative Creation: Artists can work alongside AI systems, using them as creative partners to enhance their artistic process. The interplay between human intuition and AI-generated content can produce innovative and unexpected results.

  5. Interactive Art: AI can create interactive installations where the artwork responds to audience input, changing based on their actions or emotions.

  6. Performance Art: AI can control environments or characters in live performance art, adding layers of complexity and interaction that were previously impossible. Performers can integrate real-time data and AI responses into their performances, creating a more immersive experience.

  7. Digital and Virtual Reality Art: AI tools can design complex virtual worlds and digital experiences, often in ways impractical for humans alone to calculate or conceptualize. Artists can craft detailed and immersive virtual environments, offering new platforms for artistic expression.

We don’t know what we will discover until we do.

Business Uses of AI for Artists:

  1. Personalized Marketing: AI can help artists tailor their marketing efforts by analyzing customer data and preferences to create customized content and targeted campaigns.

  2. Automated Content Creation: AI can assist artists in generating social media posts, website content, and other marketing materials, freeing up time for more creative endeavors.

  3. Price Optimization: AI-powered pricing models can help artists determine the optimal pricing for their artworks based on market trends, demand, and other factors.

  4. Inventory Management: AI can streamline an artist's inventory management by forecasting demand, optimizing production, and automating ordering and fulfillment processes.

  5. Customer Insights: AI tools can analyze feedback and online engagement to provide insights into what audiences think about an artist's work. Artists better understand their audience's preferences and can tailor their future works and marketing strategies accordingly.

  6. Workflow Automation: AI can automate various administrative tasks, such as invoicing, scheduling, and task management, allowing artists to focus on their creative work. AI can also handle customer relations and even some aspects of marketing, like email campaigns or social media posts.

  7. Marketing: AI algorithms can tailor marketing messages and target potential buyers based on their past behaviors and preferences. Marketing efforts become more efficient, increasing sales opportunities without corresponding increases in marketing costs. AI can optimize an artist's online presence, from managing an online gallery to suggesting the best times and platforms for posting content. Artists can reach a wider audience and sell more effectively online.

  8. Intellectual Property Protection: AI-powered tools can help artists monitor and protect their intellectual property, detecting unauthorized use of their work and taking appropriate action.

Are ideas sparking yet?

TheTechMargin is home to the nexus of creativity and tech and a one-woman startup. I break the boundaries of what you can do with your creativity as a leader, artist, or individual. Below, I share a case study and tools custom-tailored to the artist's needs. 

💡Read to the end for free resources that simplify managing the business side of your creative work.

SuperSonic's Case Study (stressed-out artist no more)

With purpose, SuperSonic turns to her Artist Ally template. She pulls up her artist statement and CV, refining them with precision using insights from AI with the Art Insight Guide.

AI also helps her craft accessible image descriptions, ensuring her submission is complete and inclusive. Integrating these tools transforms her workflow, enabling her to assemble a professional, compelling grant application within a single day—an outcome starkly contrasting her nightmarish vision.

As a subscriber to TheTechMargin, you can access the same resources as SuperSonic. The links below will allow you to download your art business tools for free. If you would like more content about managing your art business and the processes I use and recommend, send me a note at [email protected].

Create a free account with Notion and copy the Artist Ally template into your workspace. Instructions for using the template are available on the home page of the Artist Ally template; for more comprehensive how-to guides and tools, sign up for art business notifications here.

Read SuperSonic’s case study ==>

To learn more about TheTechMargin's tools and artist business processes, sign up to be notified of new content and tell me a little about yourself via this form.

Remember to explore technology as a tool that can work for you. Don't be afraid to experiment, and most importantly, have fun!

Leave a comment or drop me a note if you have thoughts, comments or ideas you would like to share.

Let's innovate together to transform challenges into opportunities and embrace discomfort in the name of fearless and transformational growth.

Thank you for reading, — Sonia, a.k.a SuperSonic 

The best way to change anything is to create your own unique path and ignore everything else.

Put down fear and dream beyond what you know.

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