RICHMOND, Ky. (FOX 56) – A form of art that requires no paintbrushes or pencils, just a computer, and a creative mind. The first-ever artificial intelligence art exhibit in Kentucky is being showcased in Richmond.
What started with curiosity, quickly turned into Wendy Barnett using an AI generator called Midjourney to create reference photos for her own art. Now seven months later, she has an exhibit at the Richmond Area Arts Center full of photos created by her imagination and her iPad.
“Here in Kentucky, we have so many artists, so many creative people and it was so new at that point, I thought, I would love to share this with other people. So, the art exhibit is more or less a platform just to demonstrate … here are all the different things AI text generators can do,” said Barnett.
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Wendy took the exhibit a step further by hosting a class on how the AI generator works. typing in some keywords, the generator creates patterns based on those words and turns them into four different images. “This phrase, Kentucky Derby hat fashion- all of these would be considered a character set. For each character set that you enter in, there are over four billion variations of images that could be produced,” Barnett said.
Randy Westbrook, the Executive Director of the Richmond Area Art Center says there has been some debate on whether this should be considered art since a computer creates the final product, “So, it’s an exhibit but it’s also an opportunity to educate and it just seemed interesting. I understand some of the controversy around it, but like I said, education is a part of what we do here as well,” Barnett said.
Wendy added that yes, the computer does most of the work, but it needs a brain behind it to function, “I think one of the fears about artificial intelligence, in general, is it’s going to come in and take over and remove humans from whatever process it is, and it’s an understandable fear, but it still requires the human element to tell it what to do … at least at this point anyway.”
Barnett said her next project will be creating coloring books with the software.
The AI art exhibit will be on display at the Richmond Area Art Center until May 25.