Can There be Art Without an Artist?

Avijit Ghosh, Genoveva Fossas

Generative Adversarial Network (GAN) based art has proliferated in the past year, going from a shiny new tool to generate fake human faces to a stage where anyone can generate thousands of artistic images with minimal effort. Some of these images are now ``good'' enough to win accolades from qualified judges. In this paper, we explore how Generative Models have impacted artistry, not only from a qualitative point of view, but also from an angle of exploitation of artisans --both via plagiarism, where models are trained on their artwork without permission, and via profit shifting, where profits in the art market have shifted from art creators to model owners or to traders in the unregulated secondary crypto market. This confluence of factors risks completely detaching humans from the artistic process, devaluing the labor of artists and distorting the public perception of the value of art.

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