‘I Don’t Believe You:’ Artist Banned from r/Art Because Mods Thought They Used AI – VICE

‘I Don’t Believe You:’ Artist Banned from r/Art Because Mods Thought They Used AI – VICE

Screenshot via Twitter / Ben Moran

Reddit’s largest art forum with 22 million members went on lockdown this week after debates and accusations about what constitutes AI-generated art went viral.

On December 27, a digital artist named Ben Moran tweeted that moderators of r/Art banned them from the subreddit for breaking their “no AI art” rule. Moran had posted an image of their digital illustration, titled “a muse in warzone,” and moderators removed it and banned them from the subreddit. 

Moran posted a screenshot of the direct message thread with a mod of the subreddit, where they appealed the ban and claimed that they didn’t use AI at all: 

“I can give you guys the process or the PSD file of that painting,” Moran wrote, claiming that they’re not using any AI-supported technology and that the punishment is “not right.” They also linked to their portfolio on DeviantArt.    

“I don’t believe you,” a moderator for r/art replied. “Even if you did ‘paint’ it yourself, it’s so obviously an Al-prompted design that it doesn’t matter. If you really are a ‘serious’ artist, then you need to find a different style, because A) no one is going to believe when you say it’s not Al, and B) the AI can do better in seconds what might take you hours. Sorry, it’s the way of the world.”

Moran told Motherboard that this piece was a commission from their Vietnam-based studio, Kart Studio, which was established three years ago. The studio consists of a group of digital artists who collaborate on pieces, they said. A full-body portrait with a complex background can cost upwards of $500, according to Kart Studio’s website, with the studio sending the commissioner the art at various stages, including the initial sketch. For the muse illustration, a different artist started it, and Moran stepped in to complete it. It took Moran a month to complete (about 100 hours, they said) and they wanted to show the final piece to the community on Reddit.

“Being accused of being an AI artwork is just like telling me that I’m a random guy and all of my job is just typing some words to have a painting in one or two hours,” they said. “I think it’s not a good comparison.”  

Moran and Kart Studio’s signature style does look similar to the predominant style of AI-generated art that’s going around currently: painterly, Renaissance-style depictions of feminine figures wearing warrior-esque outfits that would easily fit in a Final Fantasy game. A lot of AI-generated art looks like this for a few reasons—mainly because it’s drawing from databases built from existing original artworks and images on the internet (and there’s a ton of busty anime online), …….

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