Jason Allen, with his artwork “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial”, won first place in a fine arts competition at a State Fair in Colorado, USA. The work was entirely done by Artificial Intelligence (AI) and generated the anger of several of the artists who were part of the competition. Under the nickname of Sincarnate, Allen presented himself in the Discord publication, where he showed the canvases that were awarded at the fair.
Allen is president of the Colorado-based board game company Incarnate Games. From the state fair’s website, the award in the digital art category was confirmed for Jason Allen. The image is a bizarre scene that appears to have been taken from a space opera. In addition, it adds a painting masterfully carried out by the artist, in this case Artificial Intelligence (AI).
The digital canvas shows classical figures in a baroque room. They look out through a circular window onto a radiant, sun-drenched landscape. What generated the most dissent was that Allen did not paint the work, it was all the work of AI software called Midjourney. Although the “digital painter” pointed out the directions, he did not handle the digital brush. The distinction of this work at the state fair has generated a great deal of controversy on the social network Twitter.
Criticism of the virtual work of art
The different artists who took part in the state contest expressed their opposition to the situation. Many, on their social media accounts, took aim at Allen for bringing about the “acceleration” of the death of creative works. One of the tweets that went viral was from Genel Jumalon, who posited that the award was won based on work done with AI. OmniMorpho, a Twitter user, noted that “we are watching the death of art unfold before our eyes.”
In the AI discord, Allen acknowledged that he knew his idea would be controversial. In addition, he referred to how people used Twitter to demonstrate against AI-generated art. Allen also addressed, with much criticism, how this work done with software was criticized and the human work on it was discredited. The contest winner took aim at those who use social media to “throw the human being under the bus,” and when he wanted to be contacted by the press, as in the case of Motherboard, he excused himself that he had to take a trip.
For Allen, his contribution is fundamental in the final format of the painting that won first place at the Colorado State Fair. Before the winners were known, in a post, the awardee expressed about his work that, “I have been exploring a special message that I will publish at a later date, I have created hundreds of images using it and, after many weeks of refining and curating my gens, I chose my top 3 and printed them on canvas, after releasing from Gigapixel AI.”