Art is More Than Just a Commodity

The impact of AI on art & us

Exhibition view of Hilma af Klint’s The Ten Largest — Creative Common licence. Source

Earlier this year, I attended an exhibition in the Wellington City Gallery, New Zealand, showcasing Hilma af Klint's work, including The Ten Largest.

I remember the effect The Ten Largest had on me.

The paintings were gigantic, larger than I imagined. Each of them was 3.28 X 2.40 metres. 

I felt tiny.

And I was in awe.

There were a few other admirers in the exhibition room while I was there. And we started talking. Not for long, but the conversation lasted long enough for me to say that art can provide a way for people to connect with one another and share their experiences and perspectives. 

Art is more than an output. It can be a medium of communication, expression, and connection.

When I got home, I spent hours researching af Klint. 

I researched 

  • Her life
  • Her history
  • Her work
  • Her artistic language
  • The influence she had on other artists
  • The reason why her paintings were kept in the dark for decades

The impact of artificial intelligence

The rise of artificial intelligence and AI-powered tools, such as Dall-e, made me remember The Ten Largest. 

I wondered if I would've been amazed that much if the paintings were done by an AI?

I assume not. 

I certainly wouldn't have spent hours researching Hilma's life.

I believe AI will be an increasingly relevant technology in art-making and perhaps in art appreciation. 

No question, AI is revolutionizing the art world by introducing entirely new ways for art to be created and experienced. By exploring the technologies and their potential, both art and artist can remain relevant in our ever-evolving world.

Would I attend an exhibition presenting art made by AI instead of humans? 

Possibly yes. Because I'm curious.

Making art by hand

Art as a creative outlet

I also like to make art myself. 

I doodle, draw, and paint.

Making art is a creative outlet for me. It provides an escape from the mundane. It's a way to express my ideas, emotions, and experiences uniquely and creatively. 

When I engage in art-making, I tap into my imagination while reflecting on the world around me. 

Art as a mindful activity

For me, art provides entertainment because making a painting delights me.

Making art is a mindful activity. It's just me and the paper, canvas, or iPad.

I'd even go as far as it heals me. Because I take time out of my day to focus on creation without distractions. It lets me absolutely disconnect.

Lots of things run through my mind while doodling. Doodling makes me self-reflect. And eventually, it relaxes me. Art-making changes me through self-expression.

Making art is a form of self-actualization for me. It's an activity that helps me achieve my full potential. I can only assume many artists make art for this exact reason.

Art is more than just a commodity

We often think of art as just an item to be bought and sold. But art has the power to evoke emotion, stimulate thought, and provoke discussion. 

It can serve as a form of self-expression, communication between people, or simply pleasure through its beauty. 

It's an expression of emotions, ideas, and thoughts that can alter our state of consciousness. 

Art can help us develop a greater sense of self-awareness and can help us understand our motivations and desires.

Benefits of art

Art can affect how we think and feel, helping us understand ourselves better and providing a way to express our emotions, thoughts, and experiences, leading to better mental health (source). 

When we engage with art, our minds are stimulated in a way that can change our perception and awareness. For example, viewing a piece of art can trigger the release of certain chemicals in the brain, such as dopamine, which can alter our moods and emotions (source).

Art can also cause us to think more deeply about the world and challenge our beliefs and perspectives. In this way, art can function as a form of mental stimulation and help expand our consciousness (source).

Art can also help develop empathy and understanding of other people (source). By exposing ourselves to different art forms, we can gain insight into the experiences and perspectives of others. This can help us develop a greater understanding and appreciation of the diversity of human experiences and can help us become more empathetic and compassionate toward others.

One final thought & recommendation

I'm not an art connoisseur, but I appreciate art and like to attend exhibitions when I have the opportunity.

I don't have the answers to how art made by AI will impact people. Only time will tell. But I do know that when I see art created by AI, I don't have the same appreciation for it (yet). I can still see the beauty of the art, or when it's surreal, it makes me think about the oddity of it. But it doesn't make me wonder about the artist (in this case, the AI).

I'm keen to see how things will change in future.

By the way, if you're anything like me and love abstract paintings, patterns, geometry, and colours; go see Hilma Af Klint's work. I'm sure it'll captivate you.