This graphite pencil drawing ‘A Non AI-Driven Neo Deco Celebrity Nude – 09-03-23’ is something different or is it? Inspired by a smashing reference picture I was although I don’t know its origins. There are so many art deco pictures out there but I thank its creator anyway. So, nothing new compared to the last one already present in the series. I felt compelled to make a statement on artificial intelligence though. It seems it has creeped into the art world slowly but surely. Here and there I hear disturbing reports about AI-generated art works exposed as such in art competitions. The Mauritshuis lended the ‘Girl with the Pearl Earring’ to the Rijksmuseum for the big Vermeer exhibition. Lo and behold, in the empty slot there is one. Is handcrafted art crumbling into pieces?
So I tried out a couple of AI generating websites to see what the fuss is all about. On my mind was a cubist painting of a woman, cat and a window. Of course in the style of Corné Akkers but I also had it generate it for Juan Gris and Fernand Léger. Surprisingly they all looked the same. After some ponding over it hit me. What people consider to be intelligent, how artificial it may be, is yet another algoritm. In fact, I don’t think AI doesn’t exist as such. My works and those of other artists are just part of it. We all will be part of the stuff AI picks up in order to generate something that looks original. AI will be the finger of the wise to many a viewer, whereas the finger secretly points to the moon. That’s where artists dwell.
There is no real creative force at work, only combining images and texts already present on the internet. Okay, that’s not something really new, is it? Artists like me do that all the time. Eventually we stand on the shoulders of artistist predecessors. For example, Paul McCartney was chewing out a variation on a bourrée by Bach. So far so good. But why does AI-Driven art looks bland whereas real artists can offer new perspectives on things? I think it’s not about the aspect of choice. That can be driven by coincidence which I suspect AI uses all the time. An algoritm can flip a coin. Artists in the flesh also can but they have what AI lacks: taste! Another word for that is opinion of course. Does the series of algoritms include individual taste? I think not. That still is magically bestowed upon living beings.
When I come to think if it, it takes me back to my student years. In Leiden I was living above a bakery and they had the concept of the so-called ‘Haagse Punt’. Leftovers from the confectionery were thrown back into the mix again. In Holland we say ‘Haags’ (or The Hague-ish) and it stands for stinginess. Therefor the Haagse Punt was the cheapest slice of cake you could buy, being a perfect means to recycle things that would be otherwise thrown away. So, everything is in the mix and the result is something bland like Budweiser or Heineken. Many will like it but now I know the secret of those Frankenbrewers. They just average out taste so even Joe Sixpack likes it or should I say, doesn’t hate it?
I think in the long run original and creative thinkers need not worry about AI too much. Perhaps we can use it to be inspired by its outputs. On the other hand AI-generated art will only be appealing to those who only like a Bud or a Heiny. They will not be tempted to try out a specific and original Belgian trappist beer. The more people will post images and texts on the internet the more tasteless and bland AI output gets. That is my prediction.
I don’t see AI doing what happened to me. I was inspired by Zero 7’s song ‘In the Waiting Line’ whilst drawing this one. “Do you believe in what you see. Motionless wheel. Nothing is Real”. Nothing more sexier than Sophie Barker’s voice.
Graphite pencil (Faber Castell Pitt Graphite Matt pencil 14B) drawing Talens Bristol paper (21 x 29.7 x 0.1 cm)
Artist: Corné Akkers
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