Is AI Art creative? (free AI art background wallpapers)

I’m just sharing these AI images for fun, because I went down a rabbit hole one night and generated a ton of fancy artwork I thought would look good printed out on large canvases. It’s a proof of concept, to see what can be achieved with AI image generators.

But a question I keep seeing pop up is this: is AI art truly creative?

The answer, always given with much confidence, is NO.

Only humans are creative.

A humans is the “creative” one who decides what they want and in what style and tells the robot what to do. A slightly skewed argument could be, “is AI art really ART” – the implication being that only humans can make *real* art because their passion and soul gets transferred into the work somehow in a recognizable way.

I don’t think either of these are good arguments, so as a rebuttal and counterpoint, I’m sharing some AI images. ALL of these pictures below were made with the same simple prompt: “I just can’t wrap my head around what is happening here.”

It’s vague enough that I’m not really telling Midjourney what to do, I’m just giving it a theme to express artistically; and it does a *great* job with the aesthetics, even if it’s sometimes too literal. I don’t think you could say these are not art, because they could easily pass for oil paintings in a fine gallery if printed up to a large size with a classy frame. I don’t think you could say they aren’t creative (I, the creator, did not put any creative effort, thought or imagination into coming up with that prompt – I saw it on social media somewhere and tried it out). I would give credit to the AI for all of these and I had virtually no influence, despite being and artist and knowing a lot about art history.

So these samples are offered, not as proof of how awesome or great AI art is (I’ve made much better, much more realistic, more emotionally stirring images than these), but as examples of AI being creative on its own and doing some fun things. Down below I’ll add a few extras that I truly adore.

Also, sadly, I used a plugin to speed up this side and some of the quality of these images was reduced.

The AI art gallery (abandoned project…)

I had a BIG plan for this project, which I started months ago: set up a new website for AI generated artwork, and hold an online exhibition with a new series each day. 3 paintings, each with a unique style, beautiful enough to hang in your house. I thought I’d find a way to automate everything so the homepage would change every day to feature the newest set in the collection, for one year.

But unfortunately, though that would have been the *right* way to share these, I have too many projects and decided to dump them here. There is, however, a purpose. Tons of people are searching for AI art and AI image generators; ridiculously cool AI crap is flooding Facebook and getting all the attention; Etsy is overrun with AI digital images and illustrations.

There’s a HUGE argument to be made about What Art Really Is, but I’m going to avoid that right now. The other big topic is, whether AI art can actually be beautiful or meaningful to humans, and I think it absolutely is. I made this enormous gallery of AI art, with an older version of Midjourney no less, because as a professional oil painter, these are the kinds of things I would have liked to have painted, if I ever had the time. It’s unfair to say everybody making AI art is cheating because they have no skill; I studied classical painting in Italy. I do have this skill level, to achieve paintings like this, but it would have taken a very long time – maybe 3 paintings a month if I was working full time.

The thing I like about these paintings, is that the only prompt I used was this:

“I can’t wrap my head around what is happening here…”

That’s it, no other notes or anything. I didn’t tell it to draw a surrealist oil painting; though it got the main theme, perhaps missing the subtlety of the metaphor by literally representing “wrapped heads” – it sill pulls off a symbolic, meaningful representation of personal identity that is sure to resonate with anyone suffering through the human condition.

There is pain in these, and beauty, and a whole lot of creativity. I particularly like the translucency and sheen of the ribbons, the muted color scheme, the shadows and depth – because I can see how all this could be achieved through oil painting and how much effort it would take to get it right. I love the fishbowl ones because that’s a pretty wild creative leap from “wrap my head around”…

There are some imperfections, sure. Most art is messy if you zoom in and look at the mistakes or brushstrokes. The main thing about the art, is how it makes you feel – these were meant to produced on large, imposing canvases.

Also I’m not saying this is the best that AI can do… it isn’t. And I have much more thrilling pieces of art that I’m more excited about. These *look like* AI, but that doesn’t mean you can look at all AI art and see how it was produced (we already have photorealistic image generators that look better than human). These are not supposed to fool or trick you, and I’m not sharing these pictures to triumph AI art over real human art. I’m calling attention to the fact that the Hard Lines We Draw separating Midjourney’s artistic license from humanity’s poetic imagination is nowhere near as concrete and precise as people would like to believe, or that AI cannot make art on some kind of definitional level.

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