Mia Witte
Intern Research & Strategy
24.05.2023 | reading time: 4 minutes

CHANGING CULTURES MAGAZINE > TRENDS > The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Art

The Impact of Artificial Intelligence on Art

The art world is experiencing a disruption with the emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI)-based image generation tools that can create visuals from text prompts. NFT collections are now openly accessible to anyone on online platforms, giving exhibitions a new meaning. Additionally, AI-created works are being incorporated into auctions, leading to new forms of computer-human interaction and artistic expression. This raises the question of whether this trend merely follows contemporary styles or represents a sustainable shift towards a new form of creativity. What changes are currently occurring in the art world?

Subjects: Artificial Intelligence | Art and Design | Technology


©Jason Allen’s A.I.-generated work, “Théâtre D’opéra Spatial,” took place in the digital category at the Colorado State Fair.


AI art is the next step in the digital revolution of art. Back in 2000, people were able to trade their pen for Photoshop and create first digital artworks, which required significant skill to understand the program. In 2016 the app Procreate simplified the process of using digital art tools on an iPad and marked the beginning of a new era. Thus, digital art became a new medium, accepted in the art world. With the rise of technology and AI we are now able to create art without knowledge of the craft, colour theory or proportions at all. The only thing needed now is the ability to create a vision.

"The only thing needed now
is the ability to create a vision."



With the explosion in AI art, the two popular topics, blockchain and AI, have come together in unexpected ways. Artists start using unsupervised machine learning (AI) to create artwork through algorithms. Two popular platforms are Dall-E by Open AI, famous creator of ChatGPT and Midjourney. The algorithm creates the work for you by typing in an artwork outcome. Of course, other platforms on the market meet different needs and specializations. A large part of today's AI art lies within digital worlds, such as non-fungible tokens (NFTs*), and is traded with crypto payments.  


To illustrate how AI is changing and revolutionizing the art world one can look at the auction house Christie’s. Most recently, we were able to observe the bidding on a painting that was created by AI in collaboration with artist collective Obvious in Paris. The picture sold for an unexpectedly high price of $432,500 in 2018, making it the first AI artwork sold at the famous auction house. The ongoing debate on how the worth of AI art, like the one sold at Christie’s, is defined as a difficult one. Some argue that the value of AI art comes from the interaction of humans and computers, where human input (prompts, pictures, databanks) is put through an algorithm to make new constellations. The resulting vision is a collaboration between humans and machines.

“Edmond de Belamy, from La Famille de Belamy,” by the French art collective Obvious, was sold on Thursday at Christie’s New York. ©Christie's


Another example worth mentioning is the Tulip auction, which featured flowers that wilt after purchase, like real flowers. These works are sold in form of NFTs and show a different approach to AI art. NFTs are widely sold on platforms like Opensea, making it possible for anonymous individuals to purchase and sell these NFTs. Unlike Christie’s this opens the art world to anyone with an online account on those platforms and the ability to pay with crypto currency.

Screenshots documenting Anna Ridler and David Pfau's ©Bloemenveiling, 2019.


A recent example of an unexpected human-computer interaction to create art is the “Specimens” series by Sofia Crespo, an Argentinian, berlin-based artist. The artist created a dataset with visualizations of nature and let an AI generate images of insects. The outcome is far from what humans would recognize as an insect. The artist’s intention was not to represent nature but to raise questions about how humans represent it. The interaction and creative collaboration of humans and AI led to the creation of a new form of art. The value stems from collaboration and not just from the final product by AI.



“The value stems
from collaboration
and not just from
the final product by
Aritificial Intelligence.”


©Sofia Crespo with Dark Fractures Studio: {Specimen no. 2, Amylococcus}, 2020, AI-generated 3D model.


A painting can be evaluated on many levels like medium, painting skill or combination of colours. When the actual creation of such works falls away, where does value come from? New forms of art require a new narrative. Behind every work of AI art sits a human, prompting a text to reach the outcome they want to visualize. The evaluation of skill is replaced by vision. It is not required to have a famous name signed on a painting to be famous. Anonymous people can publish their art online on platforms like Opensea or Hic et Nuc and gain a huge fan base without a persona representing the work. AI art opens the art world to anyone.



*NFTs are non-fungible tokens are a digital certificate of ownership making it possible to ‘own’ virtual things without the ability to replicate or change them.








Image 1: https://www.nytimes.com/2022/09/02/technology/ai-artificial-intelligence-artists.html

Image 2 :https://www.christies.com/en/lot/lot-6166184

Image 3: https://annaridler.com/bloemenveiling

Image 4: https://opensea.io/de-DE/assets/ethereum/0xb932a70a57673d89f4acffbe830e8ed7f75fb9e0/12444



Author: Mia Mitte

Intern Research and Strategy at STURMundDRANG.


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