AI-Generated Artwork Wins First Place at State Fair Art Contest

Jason Allen's victory at Colorado State Fair's fine art competition made artists concerned that creative jobs might be in danger.

This year's Colorado State Fair's fine art competition, or rather its winner, sparked a wave of controversy and made some people in the art community concerned about the fact that creative jobs might be in danger.

It all started when Jason Allen, the president of Colorado-based tabletop gaming company Incarnate Games, won the first-place prize in the digital art category with his entry called Théâtre D'opéra Spatial. The artwork that Allen submitted indeed looks impressive, with its Baroque style and the sunlit miraculous world depicted on it. However, there is a catch – the project wasn't fully created by Allen, instead, he used Midjourney, an AI art tool that generates images based on text prompts.

Allen revealed that he won first place in a Discord post attaching photos of the AI-generated canvases, which soon prompted lively discussions about the fairness element of Allen's victory as well as the nature of art and what it means to be an artist.

A number of artists started to claim that Allen broke the rules as AI art goes against traditional art methods, some even expressed their concern that AI art is hastening the death of creative jobs.

In a viral tweet, artist Genel Jumalon wrote: "Someone entered an art competition with an AI-generated piece and won the first prize. Yeah that's pretty f*****g shitty."

"We’re watching the death of artistry unfold before our eyes," Twitter user OmniMorpho replied in a tweet that gained more than 2,000 likes. "If creative jobs aren’t safe from machines, then even high-skilled jobs are in danger of becoming obsolete. What will we have then?"

Allen, however, doesn't believe he's cheated, saying that his input was substantial in creating the piece and claiming that he labeled his submission to the state fair as "Jason Allen via Midjourney."

"I have been exploring a special prompt that I will be publishing at a later date, I have created 100s of images using it, and after many weeks of fine tuning and curating my gens, I chose my top 3 and had them printed on canvas after unshackling with Gigapixel AI," he wrote in a Discord post.

Following the wave of critics, Allen admitted that he knew his work "would be controversial" saying that it was quite "interesting" to see how people who are against AI-generated art were the ones who threw "the human under the bus by discrediting the human element."

He also noted that he believes that the art community will eventually recognize AI-generated art as its own category.

"What if we looked at it from the other extreme, what if an artist made a wildly difficult and complicated series of restraints in order to create a piece, say, they made their art while hanging upside-down and being whipped while painting," he said. "Should this artist’s work be evaluated differently than another artist that created the same piece 'normally'? I know what will become of this in the end, they are simply going to create an 'artificial intelligence art' category I imagine for things like this."

What's your take on Allen's victory? Do you think that AI-generated art can hasten the death of creative jobs? Share your thoughts in the comments below and don't forget to join our Reddit page and our Telegram channel, follow us on Instagram and Twitter, where we share breakdowns, the latest news, awesome artworks, and more. 

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