Artists stage mass protest against AI-generated artwork on ArtStation – Ars Technica

Artists stage mass protest against AI-generated artwork on ArtStation – Ars Technica

Enlarge / A screenshot of the “Trending” page on ArtStation from December 14, 2022. It shows anti-AI protest images added by artists across the site.


On Tuesday, members of the online community ArtStation began widely protesting AI-generated artwork by placing “No AI Art” images in their portfolios. By Wednesday, the protest images dominated ArtStation’s trending page. The artists seek to criticize the presence of AI-generated work on ArtStation and to potentially disrupt future AI models trained using artwork found on the site.

Early rumblings of the protest began on December 5 when Bulgarian artist Alexander Nanitchkov tweeted, “Current AI ‘art’ is created on the backs of hundreds of thousands of artists and photographers who made billions of images and spend time, love and dedication to have their work soullessly stolen and used by selfish people for profit without the slightest concept of ethics.”

Nanitchkov also posted a stark logo featuring the letters “AI” in white uppercase behind the circular strike-through symbol. Below, a caption reads “NO TO AI GENERATED IMAGES.” This logo soon spread on ArtStation and became the basis of many protest images currently on the site.

On December 9, criticism of AI art on ArtStation sped up when character artist Dan Eder tweeted, “Seeing AI art being featured on the main page of Artstation saddens me. I love playing with MJ as much as anyone else, but putting something that was generated using a prompt alongside artwork that took hundreds of hours and years of experience to make is beyond disrespectful.”

Four days later, a widely shared tweet from Zekuga Art promoted the protest further on Twitter, bringing larger awareness to the movement. As of press time on Wednesday, searching for “No AI Art” on ArtStation returned 2,099 results, and “no to AI generated images” returned 2,111 results. Each result represents a separate artist account.

By participating in the protest, some artists want to disrupt how Stable Diffusion training works, which led to several jokes on Twitter showing garbled AI-generated image results that some people took seriously. In reality, whatever ArtStation artwork Stable Diffusion currently draws upon was trained into the Stable Diffusion model long ago, and the protest will not have an immediate effect on images generated with AI models currently in use.


Later on Wednesday, ArtStation’s management responded to the protest with a FAQ called “Use of AI Software on ArtStation.” The FAQ states that AI-generated artwork on the site will not be banned and that the site plans to add tags “enabling artists to choose to explicitly allow or disallow the use of their art for (1) training non-commercial AI research, and (2) training commercial AI.”

SD and …….