Let’s talk about art and why a “paint by number” kit you bought at a hobby shop is not art, even though it’s “mighty pretty.”

Many things are pretty. Wallpaper, printed by the ream is pretty. Remember all those paintings you could buy in the “art department” of department stores? You could get a blue one, a green one, or a red one. Each “hand-painted” picture was perfectly designed to match your furniture and could often be bought as part of your living room set.

Each picture was “hand painted” because someone’s hand was employed to paint it. Even then, no one said “an artist painted it” because the hand that painted it wasn’t an artist.

Now, with Artificial Intelligence, it won’t even be hand-painted. I’m sure it will be technically far superior to anything a human artist could achieve. Human art is imperfect — intentionally imperfect as often as not. There won’t be a stroke out-of-place and everyone will absolutely agree that it is “mighty pretty,” uh huh, yup, absolutely mighty pretty hanging on your wall there.

Things made by machine can be beautiful, but they aren’t art. Art is wrung from the soul of an artist. Even so, there is good art, better art, great art — and awful art. None of which has anything to do with the mechanical ability of the artist. Art — music, painting, sculpture and so much else — connects feelings, meaning, depth, breadth, vision. The big and the little, the achievements and the broken little pieces. It shows the value of life, the meaning of death, the reason we live, the sadness of loss. It isn’t only something mighty pretty to hang on a wall or pump through your speakers.

If A.I. can totally master the technique of Rembrandt and the “style” of Dali, it still won’t be art because it is without passion. No soul, no heart, no meaning, no depth. The style will not keep changing as the artist’s sensibilities change. It will never evolve into something unique, new, and refreshing because machines don’t evolve or grow.

For those of you who think “art” is a technique of brush strokes on canvas and that any “style” can be reproduced — even improved on — by a more “accurate” mechanical application … or you think if something  sounds like Chopin, it IS Chopin, you don’t understand anything. Not only do you not get it, you will never get it.

Since “fake art” is pretty much always “old or classic art,” consider buying originals from a living artist — the person who actually painted or wrote it. It will be the real deal.

The good news? An A.I. world will be perfect for you. You will be happy in your A.I. world with reproductions that look MIGHTY NICE on your walls. I bet all your furniture will match, too.

Categories: Arts, creativity, Music

Tags: , , , , ,

41 replies

  1. I kind of LIKE “Assembly Mind.” You may not have said what you intended, but I think you said MORE than you intended. There is an ‘assembly mind’ in our world.

    I have — in the course of getting old — actually met people who bought that stuff and liked to augment it with velvet pictures of Jesus or matadors. But really, were they ever likely to buy anything that might even smell like real art? They were lost anyway and I figure that NOT having naked white walls is for them, a serious improvement.

    Assembly mind. That could be a book title.


  2. That should read “assembly line”, not mind. Brain farts are an art form I have mastered all too well, and no machine can possibly do a better job than me…


  3. I remember my art appreciation teacher in high school telling us that those “Starving Artist Sales!” they always advertised on TV were full of nothing but paintings made on an assembly line, and I had a hard time wrapping my head around that concept at the time. Now I see all the mass produced garbage they call “art” that we sell at Mecca for unbelievably cheap prices and I understand all too well how that starving artist racket operated…


  4. Few things have the power to polarise and divide us as human beings as does the concept of Art!

    Be it music or painting or dance, literature or performance or installation art each of us have our own interpretations on what is great art and what is trash.

    Any human being is capable of being educated more with regards an artwork/form – something they may not have given much consideration to before forming an opinion, but in truth most of us don’t bother to make the effort and prefer to just like what they like and ignore, or sometimes belittle what they don’t.

    ‘Elitists’ will look down their noses and scoff at the plebs for not appreciating the things they enjoy while the plebs will revel in their ignorance and laugh at the stuck-ups and their concocted opinions on what is ‘Great’.

    Each to their own, i say. (i feel i sit somewhere in the ‘middle’ myself).

    Art is nothing if not personalised.

    (There are just way too many comments i could make and directions i could take this but i choose to defer in the interests of future harmony) 🙂



    • Most people who love art learned it from a parent or partner, as a child or adult. It is rarely (these days) part of “normal” training. We don’t learn anything meaningful about art in school, at least not in any school I attended. I love it because I love it. These days, it’s just another thing I can’t afford. I can’t even afford to frame the stuff I already own and was given as gifts. It isn’t snobbery, but it is taken that way.

      You know what I hate? Blank, empty walls.


  5. Everything I know about art I learned from my parents and their friends. Both of my folks were artists. Their marriage didn’t last, but a lot of their art did. They were both flawed, they were teachers and gallery owners, but their souls were infused with colours, shapes, textures, and design.My mother was a potter and a weaver. My dad a painter. I spent a lot of my childhood kneading clay, warping looms, stretching canvas, making frames and developing an appreciation of the creative process. I learned that when my children or grandchildren would proudly show me their drawings, their scribblings, their watercolours, crayon designs, and coloured pencil creations; not to ask what it is. I learned to say, “that is wonderful, tell me about it.”

    “If it is too perfect it loses it’s handmade qualities.”


    • The concept of art involves artists. That’s the beginning and the end for me. It isn’t art if it wasn’t made by a human. Art needs a soul and no amount of statistical analysis or mechanical skill can make up for that. My mother painted, too and while she wasn’t a great artist, she taught me to love it.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. I always like Norman Rockwell’s art. It was very detailed and lifelike. I wondered how he could be so prolific, given the detail in each.


  7. Ah, time to go to one of those “starving artists” shows at a local hotel! 😏


  8. I love it – that’s a Rockwell selfie and it’s full of character.


    • Well, it is a piece of a Rockwell selfie with additions by someone else 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

        • I found it searching under “fake art.” I think it is a piece of the original with a few cute additions. But Rockwell did a number of selfies like that too.

          Liked by 1 person

          • He was a real character artist….no AI is going to do that.


            • Art is nuance. It’s feeling, essential capture. Whether it’s authoring or painting or music or whatever. I’m sure you could create a million themed books — murder mysteries (pick your characters and follow the plot line — which is what some authors already do and they don’t need AI, just cut and paste) and romances (a million with the same plot and only the location, clothing and date are different) — and that’s okay because that’s really want those particular readers want. There are tons of pictures that look like each other and a million books that are so familiar you feel like you’ve read them before. Lots of music that sounds vaguely like Chopin or Sting or the second cousin of the Beatles. Some of it is well-intentioned, just not very good. Some of it is not well- intentioned and only intends to make a few bucks. Then there is the real stuff and you know it when you find it. Suddenly, you look up and say “Hey, THIS is GOOD.” Whatever it is.

              It’s like movies, you know? We have great movies and we have tens of thousands of reels of crap that no one remembers and maybe that’s just as well. Just because it appeared on a screen doesn’t make it worth watching. Not every book is worth reading and not every painting is worth hanging. Many best-sellers from years past are forgotten a year after they are hot.

              Loving art and artists has never been a mass movement and I doubt will be in the future. I’m not sure what the point of making it an AI production would achieve. It’s not like this is a hot-selling item in our world.

              Liked by 1 person

  9. But remember they still think if you put 100 monkeys in a room with a typewriter, eventually will come a novel – there’s no purpose to ‘plasticising’ art for the purpose of sales. Why? Because we (the buyer) don’t feel it, because there wasn’t a person in it, there’s no blood and soul, no journey to sense in the movement made by a creature who is one of us, who mirrors some part of us …


  10. AI can never replace art and I do believe that artists will always be with us. It’s the way their work makes us feel that matters. We are a creative species and I believe that real art will never be replaced by creations of artificial intelligence.


    • I’m waiting to be told that we won’t have real actors either, that CGI advanced will be as good or even BETTER than live people. There really are some people who don’t have an understanding of nuance. How we can tell a “real” smile from a “fake” smile or how we “feel” art as opposed to merely “seeing” it. I don’t argue with the uses of AI. I just think people think it’s all about technology, but it isn’t. Some things aren’t about technology at all.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I hadn’t previously been made aware that anyone made a robot (A.I.) that ‘created’ “art”, but I’m not surprised. And in one perspective it IS art…but is it creation? Nah. There has to be ‘soul’ to the creation of beautiful…music, dance, hand art (drawing, painting, calligraphy, ect etc), writing (stories, poems, and the telling of tales..a gift in itself) and craft (stained glass, pottery, weaving and the like). To my knowledge nobody has created an A.I. with a soul. Therefore there can be no real ‘art’ where there exists no soul. Only reproductions. I was a bit miffed by someone calling me a purist when I objected to the skewing of a book made into a movie. The BOOK was one way, the movie (as is too often the case) was another. No consideration for the fine written tale was given by the person doing the screen play and they (IMHO) messed with the story, which is the POINT. I have changed my attitude after reading your post today. Sure I’m a purist. Proud of it. And my furniture doesn’t ‘match’ and my artwork is eclectic. I like it, and I know the humans who made all the things on my walls too. So, nothing wrong with wanting pure art on your walls.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s also why I don’t buy “reproductions” of “old”masterpieces. it’s not that they aren’t nice to look at, but there are a lot of actual real live artists in this world. I would rather buy a piece — even if it is a small one — from a “real” artist that a print from the museum’s shop.

      Yes, I’m a purist about art. Everything I have hanging is either a photograph of my own — or painted by an actual artist. Plus two movie posters. I’m sure some people would take issue with what I think is art, but that’s a different argument.

      My furniture doesn’t match, either, though I have tried to keep the colors from outright clashing. I never know what to say to people who buy everything in matching sets.

      Movies are yet one MORE complicated discussion!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. When I read or see art or listen to music, there is often something in that process that touches me. You can feel the person behind it, in some eery way. And in that way, there’s a sense of communication. Like hands, touching in the dark.


    • And that is the point of the process. You can like or not like a produced piece of decoration, but it isn’t art. Even if you absolutely love it. It’s STILL not art because it wasn’t created by — an ARTIST.


  13. Yup, its the passion that makes it art…nice post


  14. My favorite is “Sofa Sized Art”


  15. I cannot paint or draw and my childhood home the only art we had hanging on the walls were bought at the local street market on a stall that had a box full of the same “paintings”. Then one day I met Mr. Swiss and he could paint. He had lessons from a painter when he was a boy and we only have original Mr. Swiss stuff on the walls, mostly aquarell, He introduced me to art in many gallery visits, he actually understood what it was all about. A little bit rubbed off on me and I see the world of paintings from a different angle today. We all have our own tastes.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Garry and I went through the same process, in reverse. My mother painted. Not too bad, though hardly a great painter. But I did learn about art and what it is (versus what it isn’t) and Garry and I spent many happy years in galleries. I think the only serious investment money we ever made was for painting we bought, then sold fifteen years later for a great deal more money. I still miss the paintings. We needed the money, but the paintings made us happy.

      Most of our “art” are my photographs or Garry’s awards … but we still have a dozen or more paintings. Owen took one for his birthday this year because he loved it and we will gradually give them away to friends and family — part of the stuff I want to go to good homes 🙂

      I think art is something you “get” or you don’t. A lot of people are of the impression that it’s all about technique, but it isn’t. There’s a little piece of some artist’s soul in every piece of art we own — not counting mine, perhaps.

      Liked by 2 people

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