Artificial Intelligence Art: The Greatest Threat to Artists?

Is AI art a threat to traditional artists and photographers? In a word, yes. The rise of AI art is revolutionizing the industry, and it’s no surprise that many people are starting to feel a little threatened by this new form of creation. While some argue that AI art is nothing more than a useful tool, others point out that technology has already made huge strides in terms of creativity and artistic expression. While many view it as a useful tool, some fear that this new form of creation may take away their livelihoods or even replace them altogether. It’s no surprise then that the debate around AI art has become increasingly heated in recent months. This article will discuss the details of AI-generated art and its implications on traditional artists and photographers.

Half Dome and the Yosemite Valley
AI Generated Art Created with Midjourney of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, under the Milky Way.

The Rise of AI

When the world first witnessed Artificial Intelligence (AI) art, little did we know it would be making such a huge breakthrough in interactions between different cultural backgrounds and worldviews. Of course, that’s not any surprise with our recent advancements in technology - AI art has been around far longer than Iron Man's suit! But recently, computer-generated artworks have brought up questions I find difficult to answer. The artworks are stunning and captivating - but is this art truly real art? On one hand, the freedom and innovation offered by AI art are freeing artists from the heavy burden of perfectionism. Little is required on their part for creation. Instead, computer software does most of the hard work for them. On the other hand, it’s robbing actual hardworking human artisans. So while I'm confident AI art will continue to evolve in beautiful ways, I can only hope these advancements don't come at the expense of talent that deserves to be rewarded for creating unique pieces of art and literature for us all to enjoy.

Threading in Half

Threads of light sprawled across Yosemite Valley’s Half Dome in Yosemite National Park, California, by Jeremy Vesely Photography

What is Artificial Intelligence Art?

AI art, also known as generative art, is a new form of creativity made possible by artificial intelligence (AI). AI art uses algorithms to generate creative works that are either completely original or based on existing works. It can be used to create new artistic pieces from scratch, or enhance and remix existing works. AI art is already being used in many different fields - in copy-writing, art, and music - and its applications continue to expand. Being able to generate art using prompts can make it easier than ever to produce unique and creative pieces, but it does also come with a downside. It can make art-making too easy and take away opportunities for artists to express their creativity.

How to Generate AI Art

With the constant evolution of AI art generators, there is now a multitude to choose from! Here is just a sample of some popular ones:

Stable Diffusion
Google's Deep Dream
OpenAI's DALL·E 2
Wombo Dream

To give the AI generator a starting point, you must input what is known as a "prompt". This prompt will provide direction for the artwork it creates. To source its content, otherwise known as a dataset, the algorithm searched all over the internet and stored over 2 billion images! Remarkably though, almost half of these come from just 100 domains and are used without artist consent (we'll discuss this further later).

Rivendell from Lord of the Rings
AI Generated Art Created with Midjourney of Rivendell from Lord of the Rings.

After exploring different options, I found Midjourney to be the most capable of creating realistic results. When I supplied it with my own prompt, the results were so extraordinary that I became temporarily addicted to it. This experience truly opened my eyes to why this topic has become so popular and controversial.

To get an image of Samuel Jackson as Yoda (Which I did, for your viewing pleasure), all you need to do is type in "Samuel Jackson as Yoda" - and voilà! You'll be presented with something like this:

Samuel Jackson as Yoda from Star Wars
AI Art Created with Midjourney of Samuel Jackson as Yoda.

Searching for the perfect gift for your wife? How about an enchanting piece of artwork depicting a fox in a spooky forest beneath a full moon? With just the right words, you can find exactly what she's looking for:

A Fox Under a Full Moon
AI Generated Art Created with Midjourney of a fox under a full moon.

AI Generated Art is undeniably incredible and intricate. It makes it easier than ever to fabricate imaginative pieces by using instructions, yet there's also a downside - AI can make art-making too effortless and hinder chances for artists to demonstrate their inventiveness.

The Human Interaction

One of the most intriguing aspects of AI art is that it can be created without human interaction, so it lacks the personal touch and emotional connection we often associate with traditional artwork. Not only does this mean AI art can appear overly sterile and lack the inspiring qualities of traditional art, but it also poses a threat to the livelihoods of artists who rely on their creative abilities for their income.

Grand Tetons and the Snake River
AI Generated Art Created with Midjourney of the Grand Tetons and the Snake River.

When dealing with an AI algorithm, there is an element of mystery to its output. While a prompt or criteria may be supplied at first, the possibilities for what comes out are seemingly limitless and unpredictable - leaving us to wonder who, or what exactly should take credit for it? The machine? The user? Or simply our own imagination? Such questions make it difficult to recognize or attribute ownership over such works - making them virtually impossible to monetize in comparison to other forms of art.

Moreover, as humans, we crave emotion and feeling when looking at artwork - something which AI doesn't necessarily generate. Just like music has different instruments that create harmony and evoke emotion together, so too does visual art have color palettes, brushstrokes and textures which combine together beautifully to tell us more than just what appears on the surface. Traditional artists pour their souls into these pieces and strive for perfection - something that is almost impossible to replicate through artificial intelligence.

A Grand Sunrise

The Grand Tetons and the Snake River at Sunrise, at Schwabacher Landing in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, by Jeremy Vesely Photography

Strict Production Limit of 100 Editions.

The ability to create such complex works of art with minimal input from a person is remarkable – but we must not forget the time invested into honing our skills as artists in order to reach that level of expertise ourselves. As technology advances further and more opportunities become available to leverage artificial intelligence within our creative processes — let us not forget that human creativity should always come first.

The Human Connection

Artists have long sought to draw inspiration from the natural world to create their works of art. By going outdoors, an artist can connect with the environment and gain insight into its beauty and complexity, which they can then express through their artwork. Taking pictures, painting, or sketching on location also allows an artist to be immersed in the atmosphere, listening to sounds and feeling sensations that will sometimes spark ideas for creative pieces.

Fitz Roy and the Milky Way
AI Generated Art Created with Midjourney of Fitz Roy in Patagonia under the Milky Way.

However, when it comes to AI art, this connection to nature is completely lost. Artificial intelligence cannot interpret or observe its environment like a human can. Instead, it relies solely on algorithms and data points input by the programmer. This means that a piece of AI-generated art may not be able to capture subtle colors, shapes, or textures that would otherwise be noticed by an artist outdoors in nature. It also lacks any kind of emotional connection that a person may feel when observing wildlife or landscapes - something that traditional art can often convey through human creativity alone.

The reliance on technology also has other drawbacks for artists who are missing out on being connected with nature. Many outdoor activities require physical exertion, but computers providing such detailed images without needing any movement from the user means that people are less likely to go outside and enjoy nature. Additionally, there is no direct contact between humans and their surroundings. Excessive reliance on computer-generated images could also gradually lead to a lack of appreciation for different ecosystems in the long run.

Ultimately, while AI art has come a long way in terms of mimicry and imitation of traditional artwork, it cannot replace the unique opportunities we have as humans when connecting with nature through our creativity. By experiencing raw emotion and physical immersion in our environments we can create visual representations that carry more depth than what a machine could ever generate - adding an extra layer of soulful beauty only achievable by real people getting back out into nature!

Burney Falls Ablaze

Burney Falls in autumn in Burney, California, by Jeremy Vesely Photography

Strict Production Limit of 100 Editions.

The Implications of AI Art

AI art might be aesthetically pleasing and mesmerizing, but it's posing some ethical questions. For example, how do we protect the intellectual property rights of artists whose works are copied or used without their permission? Who owns the final artwork when a computer is involved in its creation? Is there any chance for traditional artists to remain competitive in this field?

The discussion of copyright laws is a frequent topic, particularly after the U.S Copyright office denied an AI Generated art piece's request for protection. As a reaction to this event, the creator has filed suit against the government's branch claiming that his work should be granted its rightful security under the law.

Copyright is an ongoing issue and has been for some time. In the realm of conventional art, it's not unusual for somebody to copy or plagiarize your work and take credit for it as their own. Similarly, it is challenging to recognize which artist's work was used as the source of inspiration in AI art.

Avatar's Pandora at Sunrise
AI Generated Art Created with Midjourney of a waterfall within Avatar's Pandora.

Undoubtedly, AI has the capacity to create art without infringing copyright. Take Harmonia's Dance Diffusion AI generated music as an example – it has been creating beautiful works of art for years with no infringement issues whatsoever. Nevertheless, when it comes to AI Art in particular, artists argue there is a blatant disregard for copyrighted material that must be addressed.

Despite this, it is important to note that AI art should not replace the works of traditional artists. Artists have created pictures, sculptures and other forms of artwork since the beginning of time - with each piece telling a unique story. We must celebrate both types of creativity and never forget that it is still human brains behind the technology – without them, AI Art would not exist.

The Future of AI Art

The development of AI art has just started to take shape and continues to grow. The future of AI art looks very promising as it evolves with technology becoming more and more advanced. We can expect that in the future, AI art will become more sophisticated and creative, surpassing even what traditional human artists can create. Machines will likely be able to learn from their environment, allowing them to generate completely unique artwork.

Gilded Blanket

The Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes covered in gold light at sunset in Death Valley National Park, California, by Jeremy Vesely Photography

AI-based artwork could also become much more interactive, with artwork adapting based on user input or even reacting to physical stimuli or changes in the environment. This could open up a world of possibilities in terms of engaging with art through augmented and virtual reality experiences. Additionally, it could allow for greater artistic expression by giving us (humans) the ability to interact in real-time with digital artwork or landscapes created by AI algorithms.

In addition, this technology could also be used for scientific purposes such as creating detailed 3D models of objects or organisms for analysis and study. With advancements in computer vision, these models could be generated automatically from images or videos without any manual intervention from a human artist.


While AI art has come a long way in terms of mimicking traditional artwork, it can never replace the unique opportunities we have as humans when connecting with nature through our creativity. As this technology continues to grow, we must be mindful of its implications on the industry and find ways to protect traditional artists from being abused and left behind. By ensuring that all copyright laws are adhered to, both types of artwork can coexist and help us appreciate the full breadth of human creativity.