It's one of the most well-known portfolio websites for digital artists, but head to ArtStation right now and you're in for a surprising sight. Pretty much the entire homepage has been transformed by protesting artists. The bone of contention? You guessed it – AI art.
Artists have been angry with ArtStation for allowing AI-generated art for a while now, but things seem to have reached boiling point as AI art has begun to appear at the top of the site's 'Explore' section of featured artworks. And now, a visual protest is sweeping across ArtStation. (Not sure what all the fuss is about AI art? Check out our guide on controversial text-to-image generator DALL-E 2 for the lowdown.)
Now, the homepage is full of repeating instances of the same image, created by Alexander Nanitchkov, which reads “No To AI Generated Images”. It seems we know where the ArtStation community sits on the issue, then.
Seeing AI art being featured on the main page of Artstation saddens me. I love playing with MJ as much as anyone else, but putting something that was generated using a prompt alongside artwork that took hundreds of hours and years of experience to make is beyond disrespectful. pic.twitter.com/4p2MLDbADDDecember 9, 2022
So why is AI art so contentious? As well as questions surrounding its existential threat to artists, there are issues over copyright. Recently, hugely popular AI app Lensa has been accused of spitting out AI "art" with evidence of the original artists' signature still visible. And then there's the issue of over-sexualised AI art.
Indeed, it seems new AI art controversies are emerging every day right now. From AI art scooping first prize in an art competition to Getty banning AI-generated images from its library over copyright concerns and people using the tools to copy specific artists' styles, the tech is causing all manner of disturbance online. Indeed, even Adobe recently offered a message for creatives worried about the rise of AI art.