Skyline’s art professors reflect on AI art’s rising popularity


Joshua D Picazo

A Google search trend for Midjourney from Oct 2022 to April 2023 , one of the more popular AI art apps

Artificial intelligence art, commonly referred to as “AI art,” has been the talk of the art world for the last few months.

With both opponents and fierce proponents, arguments are being made that it can hurt artists’ livelihoods and assist the future of art.

“I think there will always be a place for anything that includes human input and ideas, which it seems to [have] with AI art,” said Eileen David, who teaches painting at Skyline College.

“I have artist friends who utilize it although I am not interested in doing that, I respect their process. I do not, however, think that it’s ok for AI to use art from other artists’ creations. It does seem like perjury. I wouldn’t be too happy to find out my art was used in this fashion without my permission,” David added.

Amir Esfahani, who teaches introduction to web design, mural painting, and digital art, disagrees with the opposing views of AI art.

“I think all technology over time tends to advance, and with these advancements, some parts of the industries go away while others just begin. In this case, with AI, I am not quite sure whether it will be beneficial to the digital artist or not. I know AI will create new jobs for artists, programmers, and designers,” Esfahani said.

One criticism of AI art has been the accusations that it steals artists’ work in order to create pieces that are then sold by a third party that neither credits nor pays that artist. In February, U.S. Copyright offices said that the AI system Midjourney should not have been given copyright protection, and several lawsuits testing the legality of AI art have recently been filed.

“I think it is important to give credit where credit is due, and I think there are copyright laws in place to protect us from this kind of thing. I am sure we will be seeing issues like this in the news more and more as AI gets more developed. things that are not under copyright, for example, illegal graffiti art, may not be able to protect itself against AI using the same copyright laws. Art has always been taken, remixed, and put back out there. I don’t particularly see anything different about AI doing this,” Esfahani said of the legal implications.

When asked if he anticipates his courses using AI tools, Esfahani said, “I am 100% sure we will use AI in our classes at some point. Maybe a lesson on generative artwork or using some third-party software that utilizes AI to create something visually interesting. Maybe we will make traditional oil paintings of 3D models that are rendered as a combination of different body parts from figurative sculptures from all around the world! I mean, the possibilities are limitless, really and I personally think it is very exciting.”

In related news, aiEDU recently announced a partnership with Skyline College to “bring AI education to every student in America.” aiEDU did not immediately respond when asked to comment on the specifics.