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Will AI Replace Visual Artists?

Award-winning art director, Anastasia Simone, shares her thoughts.


by Monique Franz


AI is on the scene, and it’s not going anywhere soon. Meanwhile, debates persist about its ability to replace humanity in the very thing that distinguishes us—our art.

Should novelists fear ChatGPT’s ability to pen a bestseller? Will artists have to toss their easels and bow to the AI technology of Midjourney? Anastasia Simone, Kinsman Quarterly’s marketing director, shares her thoughts about AI’s arrival on the art scene.

“I feel like—right now—it’s really exciting,” Simone says. “Illustrators, artists, and graphic designers are figuring out how this technology can work into their existing workflow and creative process.”

According to Simone, Midjourney—and even ChatGPT—are best used as tools to brainstorm. Such use is evident in her digital illustration, “Space.” (shown below)



“I started with a prompt. I wanted a Black girl in space,” Simone says. “Midjourney is not that good at imagining what I’m imagining. I generated like 60 images before landing on this one.”

Then, she challenged herself to recreate the image by hand.

“It [the AI generated image] looks really similar to my final drawing. But I, of course, wanted it in my own style.”

Style, nuance, and “magic” are among the deficiencies of AI art, Simone explains. According to the award-winning art director, Midjourney manipulates what images it finds. It does not produce fresh ideas. It repeats trending color schemes and contains flaws.

“When I made this drawing based off of AI, I realize how many mistakes it’s made. You know, it forgets—for example—the way light increases around the edge of your nose. Or it forgets to dim the light in the eye so that the reflected light really sparkles. It’s just the little, subtle things that I didn’t notice when I first started drawing. I think most people don’t notice it now, and that’s kind of the danger.”

Simone expounds on how AI art lacks the “finesse” that a more experienced artist can produce. Precision is one of our expectations from artificially created images, however, skilled artists can see when AI is technically off.

When asked if she thought AI threatened human artists, Simone insisted AI is best only as artistic support. She does not believe that it can take her job.

“Honestly, I don’t think that Midjourney has better visual ideas than I do,” she says candidly.

The problem, as Simone sees it, emerges with “people who wouldn’t be willing to pay artists full prices,” or those who look to “cut corners.”

“We have a responsibility as creators to remind them [clients] that AI art is not as good as human. To artists, you can see the difference right away.”

Diverse representation remains one of the more significant drawbacks of AI. Simone warns that, because Midjourney recreates trends, it does not generate a healthy range of people from various cultures.

“I can ask Midjourney a thousand times to make me an image of a family eating dinner, and the chances that I will get a Chinese family eating dinner are none.”

According to Simone, humans are still the only way to capture the nuances of humanity in art. Art generators will always look for “the most common thing.”

Simone concludes AI will “miss all of those little magic moments, those little things that make it [an artistic work] unique, that make it special, that makes it art.”



 

Award-winning art director, Anastasia Simone, is also the Senior Creative at Host/Havas Australia and Marketing Director for Kinsman Avenue Publishing. Her passion for cultural inclusion and equity has led to regional recognition for clients across APAC and international attention for global brands. Simone is widely celebrated in international advertising and gaming design. For the last two years, she has been selected as a judge, representing women and women of color, for the D&AD Awards in Cannes and London.


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