March 16, 2023

Filed under: News — adamsdoyle @ 4:31 pm

AI & the Deception of Style

To use these AI programs like NightCafe, Dall-E2, and Midjourney, the user simply types in a string of descriptive pictorial keywords and usually steers it in their preferred direction with “Edward Hopper style,” or “style of Disney.”

When people ask about my work I tell them about my interests and what I’m trying to communicate through images. If I could conjure my artwork inside their mind’s eye, why paint? Art speaks in the ineffable language of meaning. What we call “style” in art is really a convenient shorthand that’s become the norm. Try not using the word in your next conversation and you’ll be surprised by how much texture and flavor enrich your description. What we typically ascribe to “style” grew out of cultural traditions, has been the result of paradigm shifting movements, and blossomed out of hearts nearly lost in the darkness.

All of my life’s experiences and influences inform my paintings. My work is made from my strengths as well as my weaknesses. Art is as much about vulnerability as it is about confidence. Every time I paint I learn in the process. That’s the point. The struggle and the flow are essential to bringing the work to life. Style forgets that struggle exists.

Art is the visual manifestation of exploration, intention, and understanding. Art is the language of meaning that shows us we’re not alone. Artists need people to know their work matters. People need art to be reminded that life is inspiring. Artists find their voice through the difficult and ultimately enlightening process of making their work, not by plucking a style off the shelf like a box of cereal.

So why talk about the shortcomings of one word when the larger argument is about the threat of AI? Because in order to grasp why this new industry of art theft is eroding the foundations of our society’s most sacred discipline, we have to trace the roots to our own language. The next time it comes up, try communicating art without “style,” and I think you’ll discover more humanity in the process. We’re in this together 🧡

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