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AI Art is on the Rise - Should Artists Be Worried? Zazzle Print-On Demand Hope At Hand

Hey there, fellow Zazzlepreneurs

ai art versus real art

Having seen the wonderful 'organic' artworks of Zazzle's recent contest winners I have been giving some thought to the rise of AI art on Zazzle and other platforms (there have been a few topics on Zazzle forum recently regarding AI Art), reflecting on the concerns of natural artists who create their own art with brush, pencil, chalk and pen. And I wanted to give some reassurance that this will come full-circle so that YOU once more hold the cards and have the greater value.

Before getting into it, let me emphasize that your concerns are valid, and they're shared by artists all over the world. There's a sense of unease, a feeling of 'will our art be overshadowed? Can our authenticity compete with AI?' These questions are entirely natural, and I hope to address them and provide some insights to help you navigate this evolving landscape.


Firstly, what is AI Art and why is it capturing the spotlight?

AI art, in simple terms, refers to artworks created with the assistance of artificial intelligence algorithms. These algorithms are programmed to analyze vast amounts of data, learn from it, and generate art based on the patterns and styles they've learned. This can range from creating entirely new pieces to imitating the styles of famous artists and lesser-known ones. The allure of AI art (for the buyer) is partly due to its novelty.


People are fascinated by the idea that a machine, a non-human entity, can produce something as deeply human as art. There's a curiosity to see what AI can create and how it mimics or deviates from human artistic expression.

BUT there is the flip side in that the buyer doesn't know (in all cases) that the art is NOT human-made. AI can now mimic watercolors which is one of the hardest (in my opinion) to recreate without it being a clear 'machine effort' and yet it is seemingly being accomplished.


A few key concerns

Competition with Machines:

The very existence of AI-generated art raises the fear that you'll have to compete with machines for recognition and value in the art world. Will your art still be appreciated when AI art can be generated at the push of a button?

Devaluation of Creativity:

There's a concern that AI art might lead to a devaluation of human creativity. If machines can replicate styles and techniques, what happens to the artistic uniqueness that has always been at the core of human-made art?

Loss of Artistic Identity:

Artists often put a piece of their soul into their work. The worry is that as AI art gains prominence, you might feel a loss of identity or that your art no longer carries the same emotional depth.

Accessibility vs. Exclusivity:

AI art, being digital, is incredibly accessible. It can be shared instantly, printed at will, and even modified with ease. In contrast, traditional art often carries an air of exclusivity, which might be jeopardized by the mass availability of AI-generated art.

Copyright and Authenticity:

When AI generates derivative works, questions about copyright and authenticity arise. Who owns these new creations, and how do you prove the authenticity of the original work?

Artistic Integrity:

Artists often have a vision and a message they wish to convey through their art. The fear is that derivative AI-generated art may not capture the essence and intention of the original piece.

Commercial Implications:

If AI can create art that is similar to existing pieces, what happens to the value of the original art? Will it be perceived as less unique or less valuable?

It is a lot cheaper!

Prices for graphics packs containing digitally generated art is ridiculously low. Thousands of images for under $10 and often with resale rights because the creator does not have the 'connection' to their AI art that a regular artist would due to it being created in seconds and they can recreate hundreds more in a single day. They themselves do not value their AI art.

These concerns are very real, and it's crucial to acknowledge them. AI's impact on the art world is undeniable, but it's also important to understand that there are ways to navigate this while retaining the essence of what makes your art unique.


Sounds impossible? It isn't!! Take a lesson from history!

One thing that has been a constant in the art world and how it holds the key to preserving the value of your art – scarcity.

The concept of scarcity is not new in the world of art. In fact, it's a principle that has been driving the value of artworks for centuries. The basic idea is that the rarer an artwork is, the more valuable it becomes.

Scarcity Facts

Historical Artifacts:

Think about historical artifacts such as the Mona Lisa, the works of Vincent van Gogh, or Michelangelo's sculptures. Their value is immensely high not just because of their artistic excellence but also because they are one-of-a-kind pieces. There's only one original Mona Lisa, and that uniqueness adds to its mystique and value.

Precious Stones:

Precious gemstones like diamonds, sapphires, and emeralds also operate on this principle. The rarer the stone, the more it's worth. Artificial diamonds may look the same, but they don't carry the same allure because they're not as scarce as natural diamonds.

Art Curation:

Art curators have long known the power of scarcity. They limit the number of exhibitions, prints, or displays of a particular artwork to create a sense of exclusivity. This not only maintains the artwork's value but also builds excitement and anticipation among art enthusiasts.


So, how can you leverage the scarcity principle in the context of AI-generated art and derivative works?

One of the most significant advantages you have as artists and creators is the authenticity of your work. Make it a point to emphasize that your art is born from your personal experiences, emotions, and creative journey. Your customers will value the authenticity and uniqueness of your art.

You can do this via:

  • Profile Bio

  • Collection details

  • Product Description

  • Craft a BIO-style Media image to accompany ALL your products! This is essential to let all your customers know that this art is hand generated and YOU are your own brand! Perhaps in the future Zazzle can implement a feature that will allow us to add a generic media image to ALL products or to those we select 'enmasse' to avoid the arduous task of trying to add retrospectively to thousands of products.

  • Create Showcased Videos: Videos offer an intimate glimpse into your creative process. They allow your audience to connect with your art on a deeper level, seeing the passion and effort you put into every piece. It reinforces the idea that your art is organic and created with love and care.

  • Add Your Signature: Your signature is not just a formality; it's a mark of authenticity. Sign your work, both physically and digitally. It's your personal stamp, a guarantee that each piece is a unique expression of your talent. With the rise of AI art this is imperative! it will not devalue your art it will increase it's value.

In the face of AI-generated art and derivative works, remember that your originality is your greatest asset. Your art has a story, a depth of emotion, and a personal touch that AI cannot replicate. In an evolving art world, your work will continue to shine brighter, just as scarcity has always added value to artistic treasures. Your art will forever be a beacon of authenticity in a world of machines.

NOTE: One of our Guest commenters shared some valuable insights regarding the importance of using all the spaces that you can to detail your bio and method.

This might not seem the case now, BUT as AI increasingly begins to dominate Print-on-demand sites and every other corner of the art world, it will become the case, so hang in there!!! I am rooting for you.


Addition - Photography - article update

On the Zazzle forum, where I posted this article, a member made a very interesting observation regarding how things changed with the emergence of photography. As such I thought it would be interesting to look at those changes in more detail in order that we may learn something from it.

Impact on Realism: With the advent of photography in the 19th century, artists working in realistic or naturalistic styles, such as the Realists, faced a challenge. The camera could capture reality with a level of detail and accuracy that was difficult for painters to replicate. This led some realist painters to question the necessity of their craft when it came to representing reality.

Pioneers of Abstraction: In response to the rise of photography, some artists began to explore more abstract and non-representational forms of art. This eventually gave rise to movements like Impressionism, Post-Impressionism, Cubism, and Futurism, among others, which embraced abstraction, distortion, and new ways of representing the world.

Changing Purpose of Art: Photography's ability to document reality forced painters to reconsider the purpose of their work. Many artists began to focus on expressing emotions, ideas, and concepts that couldn't be captured through the lens of a camera. This shift in purpose encouraged the development of abstraction and symbolism in art.

Photography as an Art Form: Over time, photography itself evolved into an art form. Photographers like Alfred Stieglitz and Ansel Adams demonstrated that photography could be a means of artistic expression rather than mere documentation.

Interplay between Photography and Painting: It's important to recognize that there was an interplay between painting and photography. Some painters, like the Impressionists, drew inspiration from photography's ability to capture fleeting moments and scenes with a different perspective.

Continued Coexistence: Rather than replacing traditional art, photography and painting coexisted and influenced each other. Many artists integrated photography into their creative process or used it as a reference for their paintings.

While it's clear that the rise of photography had a significant impact on the art world, it's important to remember that not all artists and art movements were affected in the same way. Some continued to pursue realism, while others embraced abstraction. The relationship between photography and art is a rich and complex one, and it varies across different time periods and artistic movements.


What can we learn from this with regard to AI Art, Photography and Hand Created Art Coexisting?

Collaboration and Integration

Artists can collaborate with AI in various ways, similar to how some painters used photography as a reference. AI can assist in generating backgrounds, textures, or even suggest color palettes, allowing artists to focus on more conceptual or emotional aspects of their work.

AI as a Creative Muse

AI can be a source of inspiration for artists. It can generate ideas, compositions, or even suggest new styles, much like how photography influenced painters to see the world differently.

Coexistence and Mutual Influence

AI, photography, and traditional art can coexist and influence one another. Some artists might blend these elements to create unique and innovative works.

Changing Artistic Roles

As AI takes on certain creative tasks, artists may find their roles evolving. They may shift from being solely creators to curators, directors, or interpreters of AI-generated content.

Continued Innovation

The art world has a history of adaptation and innovation. Artists have continuously embraced new technologies, tools, and techniques to expand their creative horizons. AI represents another chapter in this ongoing narrative.

In essence, AI, like photography in the past, presents both challenges and opportunities for artists, and its impact on the art world will continue to evolve as artists explore new ways to incorporate AI into their creative processes.

The key appears to be ( if we learn from the past) to view AI as a tool that can enhance artistic expression rather than as a replacement for traditional art and perhaps not as I thought when I first created this article, as the enemy of hand-created art!

As always Zazzlepreneurs, please share your thoughts in comments!

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