AI: Original art or made in Chaina?

May 11, 2023

Art director Jeroen tells us about how he experienced the dawn of generative AI.

At first I was very much against the advent of AI because I was afraid I would lose my beloved work. In fact, I work with great conviction, passion and pleasure, but also with the accompanying sadness and stress. Working in the creative industry is like entering into a relationship. Occasionally I wonder if it is what for me, due to the changes in the field, such as the advent of AI.

The advent of AI and its associated “Prompt to Image” programs touched my pride, so I was against it. Until I wondered why. It took me a while to realize it was for my own benefit.

The way forward

For me, it was important to understand that AI need not be as invasive as is often said by many freelance colleagues or power influencers in the creative sector. My driving instructor, from whom I never got my license, told me something important to better participate in traffic: “see roads as streams of water, the right one will take you to your destination.” This sounds logical, but when stressed behind the wheel, you think very differently. I may not need to mention that I still don’t drive a car.
As with choosing the right road, when creating design you can also choose a road. Choosing between AI or drawing, for example. Many artists are angry and fearful that their names will be used in prompts. I can understand that. After studying for more than 20 years and developing a style you can market with, this is what you get. In fact, you can specify in prompts that an AI bot will cobble together the work you want in a minute for you, and it will look like what a famous artist makes. To me, then, it feels like “made in China. You release a valuable product that becomes famous all at once, and similar fakes are then sold for a few tens of dollars. The question then is whether you should get angry about this or do something about it.

Eyes on the road

Today, a lot of new art is still being made and sold, despite the automation and changes of our time.I call this evolution, or positively put: revolution. Nervously we focus on technology, without paying attention to where we are going.
I understand that AI is a completely new concept and that we do not yet know all the rules on the way to our destination, despite all the speculation. It is important to understand the introduction of new rules, but we must have confidence in those who create, introduce and control them. We should not, for example, allow a Tesla driver to have more privileges than other road users. As for AI technology, it is best to embrace such developments and take advantage of new opportunities. It is a system that has been around for a while, but can only now really be implemented in our daily lives. It’s exciting and can produce great things. So like me, make the move: don’t get too influenced by negative speculation and doomsday scenarios that often stem from self-interests and look at the big picture and what AI can do for everyone.

Driving yourself

While AI can provide a lot of useful material, my focus is on its limitations. Creating graphics on demand or designing new shapes with a particular idea is not something you can just get out of an AI bot. It often takes a lot of time to teach the machine what to do, and even then it often doesn’t quite match what you had in mind in terms of the end result. Right now, I see AI mostly as a tool that supports, but to get exactly what you want, in a short time, experience as an illustrator and/or designer is still needed.

AI programs often still lump everything together instead of making nice choices and thinking with you. As a result, there is a chance that many things will look the same in the near future. Of course, it’s a matter of wait and see, and time changes the creative game quickly. You might not like it anymore and quit, but creativity in general will always remain.

More confidence and positivity are probably the keys to successfully implementing these new developments. We creatives must continue to open our minds to change and the opportunities it brings. As the saying goes, “It’s impossible” said Pride. ‘It’s risky,’ said experience. ‘It’s futile,’ said reason. ‘Try it,’ whispered the heart.

So, and having said that, I put my mouse on the screen for a moment longer.

Writer of this article:

Jeroen Peter

Jeroen Peter

Art Director

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