drawing of a hand with six fingers on a post-it note

Our Thoughts on AI in Art

As the days go on, AI has become prevalent in almost every field. In art spaces, especially, it’s a hotly debated topic. At Spraycan, we feel it’s important to talk about our thoughts on AI in art to show where we stand on it, as well as provide a creative’s perspective on the subject.

Artificial intelligence is a powerful tool no doubt, and is most productive when it comes to generating jumping off points. This could be writing prompts, drawing prompts, and things of that nature. The biggest issue is when it’s generative, as it collects from the entirety of the Internet. When people generate art with this, the AI is trained on other people’s work, usually without their consent. The computer then hodgepodges it together, using its best logic to do what it interprets the user wants. This results in the most bizarre, hollow pieces of “art,” sometimes with eight fingers, or some other error that is made thoughtlessly. Using AI takes away from the entire reason humanity has always connected with and created art: intention. We use art to express our feelings and start conversations about whatever subject it may be. In the case of design, it’s communicating the message and values of a business or organization. With generative AI, it’s just impossible for it to have that same warmth and personal connection. There is no process behind the art, just a prompt put into a computer, and a thrown together conglomerate of whatever keywords were pulled out from the Internet. 

Not only does it sever that human connection from creation, it also puts current artists on the Internet at risk of having their art stolen without their knowledge or consent. While collaging and taking inspiration are absolutely a normal occurrence in the creative space, when done ethically, this is done with intention to create something new with an individual’s own perspectives of these things. A computer, however intelligent it may be, cannot form original thoughts the same way. It simply clips pieces of other people’s work together to give what it thinks the prompt calls for. It’s a guessing game for the AI. All the work is done through a computer, from other people’s artwork, guided by the binary of a system; it’s not given the thought, craft, and intention that a human hand has. People trying to pass off generative AI art in our space, propping it up as the same substance as human art damages the value of creatives, because some don’t fully understand how exactly generative AI pulls its assets from other artists. It devalues what we as designers do for a living, and what the very fabric of art is about. While new and innovative forms of art have popped up over time, they all have one thing in common: coming from a human psyche. Artificial intelligence simply does not have that. Hence, “artificial” intelligence.

So, here at Spraycan, we do not believe the use of generative AI is ethical, nor is it productive to the creative space. We love seeing all kinds of progress in tech, and are always open to new tools to aid us in our creative work, but generative AI that globs together other people’s work, at the end of the day, goes against what we value: intentional, human relationships.

And, yes, this post was written by a human named Alex.