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Will AI Replace Artists?


The image is of a robot painting on a canvas in a studio as an artist would.
Robot painting on a canvas

AI's foray into the realm of art is nothing short of a marvel. It can generate compositions, paint portraits, and craft sculptures. As AI continues to seep into different areas of our lives, it's only natural to wonder about its role alongside artists in this digital age - will AI replace artists? It's all too easy to image a world where AI becomes a replacement for living, breathing artists.

Whenever I hear fear of the future, my mind always goes to history. What similar thing happened in the past and how did humans adapt? This thinking took me to another technological advancement that impacted the world of art: The invention of photography.


Photography's ability to capture reality with a high degree of accuracy led to a shift in the role of traditional painting and drawing. Artists were no longer primarily responsible for documenting people, places, and events, as photography could do so more quickly and objectively.


This encouraged artists to explore other avenues of expression beyond mere representation, and transformed the way artists approached their work. Some artists, like Monet and Renoir and other Impressionists and Post-Impressionists sought to move away from literal representation and focus on capturing the fleeting effects of light and color. Yet other artists pushed the boundaries of artistic expression in different directions, including Surrealism, Cubism and Abstract Expressionism.


Artists like Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque incorporated photographic elements into their artworks, breaking down the boundaries between painting and photography, leading to the development of collage and photomontage. In the latter half of the 20th century, artists even started to embrace photography's detailed and objective qualities to create art that mimicked the appearance of photographs, called Photo-realism and hyper-realism.


The latest advent of digital photography and mass access to easy image editing software led to the development of digital and multimedia art because Artists can now manipulate and composite images in ways that were previously impossible.


While AI may mimic our artistic prowess, human creativity is not replaceable. Artists aren't just creators; they're provocateurs, challenging norms and stirring change.

Art can't replicate the profound human experiences, emotions, and interpretations that underpin art. Our personal journeys and perspectives are woven into our artwork, something AI can't quite grasp.


As AI continues to evolve, it's an exciting notion that the very concept of art could transform alongside it. New art forms may emerge, combining human creativity with AI-powered techniques. Artists are on a journey of adaptation, embracing technology as a tool to enhance their artistic visions. The relationship between artists and AI will evolve, with artists taking the reins, guiding and shaping technology in alignment with their creative intentions. The collaborative spirit between humans and machines might just birth groundbreaking artworks that transcend conventional boundaries.

While AI has the potential to revolutionize the art world, it's unlikely to replace artists. Instead, it's a potent tool, a companion on the artist's journey, helping to enhance the creative process. The unique essence of human creativity, combined with the capabilities of AI, heralds a thrilling era of art that pushes boundaries, challenges norms, and captivates the soul. The partnership between humans and machines holds boundless potential for the future of art, unveiling new horizons in artistic expression and innovation.




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Carolyn Wonders

ARTIST | WRITER

Modern life with its social, political, and cultural debates leaves us all raw, triggered, and anxious. We are bombarded by rhetoric that is carefully chosen to obscure truth and advance agendas. I see art as a universal language that can transcend that which twists us into parrots of this rhetoric. Living with art you love and seeing through an artist’s eyes can help us see these superficial debates for what they are and get us in touch with what really matters.

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