The Art Angle Podcast: How A.I. Is Changing the Business of Being an Artist


Welcome to the Art Angle, a podcast from Artnet News that delves into the places where the art world meets the real world, bringing each week’s biggest story down to earth. Join us every week for an in-depth look at what matters most in museums, the art market, and much more, with input from our own writers and editors, as well as artists, curators, and other top experts in the field.

In the borderlands between art and technology, no single development has sucked up more oxygen this year than the rise of image generators powered by artificial intelligence. Not so long ago, such projects were fringe experiments with results that were usually more intriguing for what they got wrong than for what they got right.

But in 2022, A.I.-driven image generators have made a quantum leap in quality, speed, and affordability. It’s not an exaggeration to say that, thanks to these tools, never in the history of civilization has it been easier, faster, or cheaper to produce professional-looking visuals of anything a person could dream up, with or without artistic training whatsoever.

This is both extremely cool, and extremely concerning, especially if you happen to be a human who makes a living as a commercial illustrator. This October, a strange saga that played out on the live-streaming platform Twitch showed how the tension between flesh-and-blood image-makers and A.I. is getting stronger and weirder by the day, with serious consequences for age-old debates about plagiarism, ownership, and the value of making art in the first place.

Thankfully, the knowledgeable and intrepid Zachary Small has been following the saga, and joined art business editor Tim Schneider today to walk through the initial scandal and the murky future of commercial art in the age of A.I. Buckle up, because this is going to get a little surreal…


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