Art vs Content

September 17, 2022 (1y ago) · @kgoryunov


“Every artist was first an amateur.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

If you ever witnessed the process of how artists create their next piece you would probably know that most of them care about every single detail to make it perfect.

The process of creating a single piece can take days, weeks and sometimes years of work iterating over and over again.

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Noah Taylor, “Is this art? *Yes”, 2018, ink on paper, 52 x 76cm
Noah Taylor, “Is this art? *Yes”, 2018, ink on paper

Today everyone can become an artist or a creator with an abundance of creative tools and technologies. So, what does that mean for professional art?

Let’s take a look at a few examples from the history of art and technology.

Reception of Photography

The evolution of photography had many stages starting as an exclusive experience till it finally became available for anyone in their smartphones.

Photography democratized people’s access to images and people today are taking over 4.7 billion (source) photos everyday.

History of photography timeline. Image by Sean Ensch.
History of photography timeline. Image by Sean Ensch

Reception of Social Media

The evolution of the internet brought us various social apps that allow creating & sharing visual content. Instagram was initially a tiny network for professional artists showcasing their works. But as more people joined it, the era of user-generated content took off.

Instagram stories, which was originally invented by Snap, brought the UGC to a new level by significantly accelerating the content creation-to-consumption cycle and making hundreds of millions people use it.

Instagram Stories versus Stanpchat daily active users.
Instagram Stories versus Snapchat daily active users (source)

Reception of AI generated art

The evolution of digital and AI generated art allowed making art with just a couple of words given to the algorithm.

Creating a digital piece with the tools and technologies like DALL·E, Midjourney or Stable Diffusion makes it possible to become an artist in a few minutes, not years or decades.

Instagram Stories versus Stanpchat daily active users.
Images generated by DALL·E (source)

The AI model trains itself in minutes and seconds by using images from other artists without their permission – isn’t the way any artist starts their creative journey?

Dilution or Concentration?

Does consumer technology dilute the value of professional art or make user-generated content less valuable compared to each other? Probably It creates new different categories.

Evolution is not diluting the value of the origins – it concentrates it and gives a rise to many new forms of value where all of them benefit from creating a broader and sustainable system.

“Art is not a thing; it is a way.” – Elbert Hubbard

As the technology evolves the value of it is shifting from one category to another to follow the consumers' needs.

In reality, there is no difference between professional art and user-generated content, because everything that is created by a human intention can be called art.