AI-Generated Artwork Wins State Fair Art Contest, Internet Calls It “Death of Artistry”


A piece of digital artwork that won first place in a fine art competition has prompted discussion on social media about the nature of art and what it means to be an artist. 

Jason Allen came first at the Colorado State Fair’s fine art competition using an Artificial Intelligence (AI) generated artwork on Monday. According to a Twitter post, the synthetic media designer announced his victory on the Discord server. “I won first place,” he wrote while sharing pictures of the AI-generated canvases hanging at the fair. 

As per the state fair’s website, Mr Allen won in the digital art category. The image, which he printed on canvas for submission, showed classical figures standing in a Baroque hall. He created his piece using an online program called Midjourney, which is an AI art tool using a text-to-image generator. 

Now, as Mr Allen did not paint his award-winning artwork, his distinction has triggered a debate on Twitter. Some people think human artistry is doomed thanks to AI and that all artists are destined to be replaced by machines. Others believe art will evolve and adapt with new technologies that come along. 

“We’re watching the death of artistry unfold before our eyes,” wrote one user. “If creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete. What will we have then?” added another. 

“This sucks for the exact same reason we don’t let robots participate in the Olympics,” said third, while a fourth commented, “I don’t see a problem with this. Not sure how this is that different from photography. Person spent weeks refining the input, and then combed through hundreds of options to arrive at the “best” ones. That requires subjective art experience. It’s not like the AI did it on its own.” 

Meanwhile, according to KOAA News, Mr Allen said that he authored the piece which took around 900 attempts. He revealed that he wrote the scene out for AI to interpret and also edited the image. He believes that his distinction brings up the conversation of having an AI category in future art shows.