Key idea: “From copying my music teacher to copying the great composers to mashing-up great recorded content to learning to ask AI to create – it’s all the same process.” Shelly Palmer
Original author and publication date: Shelly Palmer – September 4, 2022
Futurizonte Editor’s Note: AI is becoming more are more artistic. Are we going to delegate in AI all our art creation?
From the article:
Jason M. Allen’s piece “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial” recently won first prize at the Colorado State Fair Fine Arts Competition in the category of “digital arts/digitally-manipulated photography.” It was created using an AI image generator known as Midjourney and the human competitors are furious. Should they be?
We learn by mimicking. In fact, human beings are the most successful mimics on the planet. “Watch Mommy!” or “Daddy will show you how to do it,” or “Repeat after me” are phrases we have heard all of our lives. You will learn about this subject by mimicking the words, acronyms and concepts written here – that’s why you are reading. Jason M. Allen learned to describe what he felt differently than the artists who came before him. He used new technology to do it. He may have crossed a line, but if he has, we’ve been walking up to the edge for decades.
Art vs. Craft
Artists are among the best mimics. They are experts at copying the techniques that allow them to practice their art. We think of someone as a great artist when they can communicate an idea that is familiar to us but feels somehow new and exciting. Although there are many ways to describe art (and by art, we are discussing fine art, music, videography, film making, writing, etc.) let us use a simple description we can all agree upon: “Art cannot be ignored.”
This is opposed to “craft” which is pure technique and which we can easily ignore. In the distant past, the line between a creative artist and an expert technician was clearly visible to people schooled in the art. A good technician could fool most or all consumers of art into thinking that they had artistic talent, but to a professional, the differences would be quite clear.
In the more recent past, say since the 1960s, it has become much more difficult to make such declarative statements. One reason is that the proverbial “bar” has been raised to unimaginable levels. In order to become a modern, world-class professional in any discipline (athlete, musician, singer, dancer, fine artist, concert performer, entertainer) you literally have to spend all of your waking hours pursuing that goal from early childhood.
Learning to Play
As it does in many aspects of the human endeavor, the law of unintended consequences here too plays a mischievous role. Due to the immense amount of training required to just be average, it is extremely hard for laypersons to appreciate the level of technique and technical achievement that most professional artists have today. But, do not be fooled by the fact that you do not understand — or can’t relate to — the content that new, young artists are producing. A young adult entering the arts today, with a hope of being successful, will have blinding, extraordinary technique. So much so that the average person would mistake it for artistic talent.
This is such an important concept, it needs to be repeated. Today, most people who are not schooled in the art cannot tell the difference between someone with true artistic talent and someone with extraordinary technique.
In fact, the time, dedication and perseverance required for world-class technical achievement is so respected in our culture, that some truly talented professionals laud lesser talents because of their technique.