Will Art be Replaced by AI?

The Evolving Canvas: Examining the Potential Impact of AI on the Future of Art


Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster movie “AI”, focused on the concept that artificial intelligence could be programmed to experience human emotions and certainly made for some thought-provoking science fiction. Further to the recent development of AI software designed specifically to draw/create images, you could be forgiven for thinking that the world was entering The Twilight Zone. Imagine you are an artist, struggling to meet an important deadline, would the idea of simply inputting a series of descriptive words into the computer to produce a piece of art be unethical, or would it be your saviour?


a landscape of new york city in the style of lowry

An AI generated landscape of New York city in the style of Lowry


Programs like Dall-E, Midjourney and Stable Diffusion have been trained through a process of machine learning using a massive database of internet-sourced images, copyrighted and non-copyrighted, to generate digital artwork based on prompts entered by the user. It can produce anything from a photorealistic image to a Renaissance style painting, the possibilities seem endless. The deceptively simple application gives anyone the power to produce an incredible piece of art in a matter of minutes. This poses the question, if you were to use an artist’s idea and develop it with AI, who would get the credit?


a dog eating hamburger and french fries in the style of henri mattisse

An AI generated image of a dog enjoying a hamburger and french fries in the style of Henri Mattisse


Whilst AI presents the opportunity to produce pleasing art at a fraction of the cost, the legislation needed to protect artists, and their work is severely lacking. Indeed, there are many movements now challenging the use of AI to bring about the required laws to preserve artists livelihoods.

Research studies conducted with Art students concluded that AI would provide a useful tool for artists to develop their ideas, and aid in the creative process. Instead of spending hours putting together a series of sketches to accompany ideas, or struggling with a creative concept, AI could be a powerful brainstorming companion. In a world where the threshold for technical skill has increased and deadlines are becoming tighter and tighter, this technology could be the solution.


a cat flying to mars in a sports car in the style of andy warhol

An AI generated image of a cat travelling to Mars in a sports car in the style of Andy Warhol


Technology that continually learns from the prompts that are entered into it, means that the more people use it, the smarter the technology becomes. While you could argue that this presents the dangerous potential to fully replace artists, there are many who believe that just isn’t possible. Art is an expression of emotions, experiences and ideas, the creativity intrinsic to traditional art, is the human touch. AI lacks the ability to generate entirely new concepts, as everything it knows is learned from something that already exists.

There is no question that these new technologies are having a huge impact, but this is not the first time in history that something like this has happened. Consider the impact photography would have had on portrait and landscape artists, some would have been put out of work and others would have adapted, but the art of painting did not disappear. The two are now considered different forms of art in their own right.


a canary and a parrot in a boxing match at madison square garden in the style of banksy

An AI generated image of a canary and a parrot in a boxing match at Madison Square Garden in the style of Banksy


Ultimately, people will continue to buy and trade this new type of artwork, but there will always be those who will prefer to remain in the realm of human made. If anything, the appreciation of hand-crafted art continues to become even more valuable, in demand and therefore collectable.

Ongoing developments of AI within the art world means that valuing any form of art is becoming even more complicated by the day! We would always recommend enlisting the help of an expert Valuer to help determine an accurate valuation of your artwork. Here at Dawsons we have a team of specialists who are keen to help you.


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