Friend or Foe? Access, Art and the Perfunctory Nature
of Artificial Intelligence on Creative Process
Written By: Chiara Atoyebi
Featured Image : AI-Generated Portrait of Me from Lensa, 2022
Last year marked the 50th anniversary for the National Women’s Caucus for Art and we’ve only just begun to celebrate the women on the frontlines of change. When I was told that I would become the new editor for WCA’s blog ArtInsights, I was honored. I knew I needed to do something special. I am very interested in our world, and I want us to share in this journey together. I’d like to consider my blog posts “Works In Progress” because similarly to our work, we are in progress. We are evolving and we won’t stop until the end.
In the early 2000s, I wanted to see the exact moment we are living in now come to fruition. I wanted to see access to information, art become democratized, and the ideas surrounding race, capitalism, and economics become demystified. But most of all, I wanted to come to the table as a woman whose intellect was not a threat but an asset. For me, that is what I saw with women artists and women in the art world. They were sensual, beautiful, cultured, brilliant, and strong. More importantly, they were on a mission, and it appealed to me. If it sounds like something that resonates with you, you are in the right place.
I became a member of the organization because I want to be next to artists, writers, activists, and historians committed to changing society. I want to be part of a global community that could see me where I could show up fully as myself. So, I decided to not only join, but to get involved with the art writer’s committee. During my first meeting with the committee, I sat among women who’d made artistic, pedagogical, and cultural decisions surrounding art. Although I was not as highly decorated as many of these women, I not only felt I could learn but that I was among my peers. Because of a natural kinship, I feel among women of all nationalities and diverse backgrounds, I know this is the place for me. The ArtInsights blog began as a platform that centered conversations with artists. I want this space to be a launching pad for ideas and thoughtful, intellectual discourse that pulls on perspectives from all walks of life. This space should not be seen as charity or a good deed, but as a cipher of education that inspires our overall mission—amplifying women’s voices and work. I’m excited.
What I’ve noticed more than anything over these last few years since the pandemic — is a visible shift in cultural paradigms and power struggles, and this year is no different. In fact, 2023 is an important one for our democracy. We had a loss with Roe v. Wade, but there are still more stories to tell in that area. However, we had a big win with the Respect for Marriage Act, which federally legitimized all unions. This month’s theme for our blog is Art and Technology. In this moment when we are looking, we should be looking to the future. Visual culture’s iconography speaks to the subconscious. Whether it’s Barbara Kruger’s iconic slogans, Faith Ringgold’s revealing paintings on race, or Linda Vallejo’s spiritual work and symbolism—women artists have a keen way of viewing the world by making magic from the ordinary.
So, where do you see the direction of art going? For me, I am an abstract painter, writer and sewist. The melding of color and text will always be it for me.
Oscar Wilde once wrote, “life imitates art far more than art imitates life” However, I feel that in this season of our lives, artists are no longer simply reflecting on the times, but are using technology to drive the times and reimagine societal narratives. The idea of co-creating with tech signals a strong desire for artists to maintain control of their messages as well as their networks. This is extremely meaningful for women artists as a whole who’ve yet to achieve parity in the male-dominated art world. Artists are working with technology and opening themselves up to a wellspring of opportunity that we still have yet to see.
Whether artificial intelligence is found within environmental art, comingled with blockchain technologies, AI-assisted drawings, or helping academics increase their scholarly productivity, tech is here to stay.
Over this next month I want to share insights into technology, discover artists that are using tech to affect change, and learn how we could possibly use its innovations. I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling determined this year. I am determined not to simply serve myself but to go beyond the footstools of traditional power sources but to evolve beyond the positions of seeker, student, the afflicted and assisted and onto being the model of the change I would like to see globally. Right now, thanks to digitization, there is not only access to information that was previously unavailable, but an opportunity to engage more primary sources and analyze information typically passed down to us. On this blog, hopefully, you will discover some exciting new resources, and decide to get in on the conversation. Therefore, I believe that keeping our eyes on culture, tech, and the environment is key now and for the future.
Stay tuned. Xoxo