MidJourney AI wins art competition, human artists rage

A Colorado resident has won an art competition by presenting a painting generated by the artificial intelligence MidJourney. His victory has sparked controversy and anger among artists on social networks… should we let AI conquer the art world?

Visit entering his first art competitionJason M. Allen didn’t really think he had a chance of winning. Like most artists, he was stressed and nervous about participating in the competition.

Finally, in August 2022, this video game creator has won the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition in the category “ digital art / digitally manipulated photography “and pocketed the $300 prize.

However, his victory created controversy in the art world. For good reason, unlike the other contestants, Jason M. Allen did not paint his picture himself.

Space Opera Theater: a painting generated by MidJourney

Its winning image, entitled ” Space Opera Theater “is generated by MidJourney an artificial intelligence capable of creating artistic images from words entered by the user.

Anyone can use MidJourney via Discord. To find out more about this revolutionary AIRead our full report on MidJourney.

In addition to MidJourney, a number of art-generating artificial intelligences have emerged in recent months. These include OpenAI’s DALL-E, Google Research’s Imagen and Stable Diffusion. However, it’s not all doom and gloom, these AIs require an invitation or are simply reserved for researchers.

The 39-year-old Pueblo West resident’s victory has sparked debate. Many wonder can art really be computer-generated?and what an artist really is…

Jason Allen’s image resembles a surrealist painting at the crossroads of Renaissance art and steampunk genre paintings. By his own admission, this Coloradian is fascinated by this image and ” thinks everyone should see it “.

All in all, 11 people participated in the same category with 18 works of art. On his side, Allen presented three images generated by MidJourney.

According to the official description, this category includes all works using ” digital technology as part of the creation or presentation process “. Of course, Allen had specified that his image was created by MidJourney when registering for the contest.

Artists rage on social networks

While AI-generated art has been divisive since its inception, this first competition win is setting tongues wagging. Proud of his success, Allen shared his joy on MidJourney’s Discord server on August 25, 2022 and the news quickly spread on Twitter and other social networks.

We’re watching the death of artistry unfold right before our eyes – if creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete
What will we have then?

– OmniMorpho (@OmniMorpho) August 31, 2022

Many artists have expressed their anger. According to one Twitter user, ” it sucks for the same reason we don’t don’t let robots compete in the Olympics “.

Another Internet user believes that ” is the literal definition of press a few buttons to create a work of art digital, AI art is the banana taped to the wall of the digital world “.

This is a reference to the banana taped to the wall sold for $120,000 at the Art Basel contemporary art fair in Miami in 2019, considered a scam by many.

Over 80 hours of work on MidJourney

However, even if Allen didn’t use a paintbrush to create his work of art, he still assures us that he put a lot of work on this painting. According to him, ” it’s not just about gluing words together and winning competitions “.

While it’s possible to enter a simple phrase on Midjourney to receive multiple images in a matter of seconds, Jason Allen’s creative process isn’t quite so straightforward. To obtain the three final images entered in the competition, he explains that he had to worked for over 80 hours with the AI.

He first experimented with different phrases to lead MidJourney to generate images of women in astronaut dresses and spacesuits. Her aim was to blend Victorian-style costumes with the space theme.

Over time, he made many subtle changes to his text. The aim was, for example adjust lighting or color harmony.

For now, Allen refuses to reveal the text that generated the winning image. He intends to keep it secret until he publishes a larger work that he hopes to complete at the end of the year.

All in all, more than 900 iterations were created to achieve the final result. Allen then used Photoshop to retouch his three images, for example for one of the characters to whom MidJourney had simply forgotten to give a head.

He also used the Gigapixel AI to improve definition of his three images. Finally, he had his work printed on canvas at a local print shop.

The judge did not understand that the image was generated by IA

Despite the criticism, Jason Allen is proud to spark debate on the use of AI for artistic creation. According to him, “ rather than hating a technology or the people behind it, we should recognize it as a powerful tool and use it to move forward rather than sulk “. It’s hard to argue with him on this point.

One of the competition’s judges, art teacher Cal Duran, explains that he didn’t didn’t realize that the work was generated by an AI when evaluating it. Nevertheless, he has no regrets about offering it first place, and considers it a ” beautiful work “.

He believes that this work involves many things, and that artificial intelligence could give ” more opportunities to people who don’t consider themselves artists in the conventional sense “…