Midjourney AI-Generated Art Wins Colorado State Fair Prize
The Colorado State Fair picked an AI-generated image for first place in the digital art category this year, awarding the ribbon to artist Jason Allen, who image-generating AI tool Midjourney and AI Gigapixel to create the winning piece, Théâtre D’opéra Spatial, and place them on the canvas.
Allen, the founder of a small board game company, created the piece as a statement about people coming to accept the place of AI in art over time. The final version came after hundreds of attempts to articulate and refine an ideal prompt for Midjourney that would convey Allen’s idea. He has since said on the Midjourney Discord that he will release the unknown “special prompt” later on. The fact that he used an AI wasn’t hidden, as Allen submitted the piece under his name but added an unexplained “via Midjourney” to the credit. The judges have said they didn’t know what that meant and that it wasn’t accounted for in the submission rules, but that it wouldn’t have affected their decision.
“‘I have been exploring a special prompt that I will be publishing at a later date. I have created 100s of images using it, and after many weeks of fine tuning and curating my gems, I chose my top 3 and had them printed on canvas after upscaling with Gigapixel A.I.,” Allen, wrote on Discord. “I’ve set out to make a statement using Midjourney in a competitive manner and wow! I could not be more excited about having won with my favorite piece: Théâtre D’opéra Spatial.”
The news prompted some harsh criticism online as exemplified by a few tweets.
TL;DR — Someone entered an art competition with an AI-generated piece and won the first prize.
Yeah that's pretty fucking shitty. pic.twitter.com/vjn1IdJcsL
— Genel Jumalon ✈️ ARTapalooza Cedar Falls (@GenelJumalon) August 30, 2022
So someone submitted a midjourney A.I. piece into an art contest and fucking won. This is absolutely bullshit. This undermines the effort of hundreds of other artists who poured their blood, sweat, and tears into their pieces.
— JKBisms (@JKBisms) September 3, 2022
“Everyone familiar with these tools seems to recognize that devising the prompts for AI-image generators is a creative process in its own right. You have to have a vision for what you want to see and craft precise statements to get the system to generate what you would like,” Voicebot founder Bret Kinsella explained in a recent Synthedia Substack post. “Then again, you might not even need to do that anymore. PromptBase is a new marketplace for prompts that will help you generate just the type of images you want to see. For a couple of dollars, you can buy a prompt and have a really good idea what will come out. This might make the question of who the originator of the idea behind the artwork even cloudier.”