ArtStation, a platform that allows artists working in games, film, media and entertainment to showcase their portfolios, has been flooded with the same image posted over and over again by different users: a big red “NO” sign covering the word ” AI’ and the caption ‘NO AI GENERATED IMAGE’.
Starting Tuesday, artists began protesting the platform by uploading images to their portfolios after some users pointed out that the site’s homepage featured art created by artificial intelligence, reports Vice.
For many artists on ArtStation, juxtaposing AI-generated images with their own work is humiliating and undermines the time and skill that goes into their work. AI-powered image generation tools have come under heavy criticism from artists because they learn from human-made artworks scraped from the internet and then effectively blend or even copy them exactly without crediting them.
Illustrator Nicolas Kole sparked the protest, which was first reported by Kotaku, after seeing costume designer Imogen Chayes post an illustration of No AI, which was designed by illustrator Alexander Nanitchkov.
“Seeing that made me feel a little hope and solidarity, but it was slipping down the page while the AI post was going strong. I decided to post the same thumbnail in solidarity, and see if I could keep it trending,” Kole said.
“I let Twitter know what I was up to and invited anybody who felt the same way about the issue to join in, to see if we could get ArtStation to respond with a policy that actually serves and considers their user base of skilled craftspeople,” he continued. “After that it was all organic: the art community is a powder keg of passion for our craft and there’s a natural growing consensus against AI.”
— RonanMahonArt (@RonanMahonArt) December 14, 2022
In response to the protest, ArtStation released FAQ about AI-generated artwork on its platform. The company said its “content guidelines do not prohibit the use of AI in the process of artwork being posted.”
However, according to the platform, “users’ portfolios should only feature artwork that they create, and we encourage users to be transparent in the process.” The company says it doesn’t want to “become a gatekeeper with site terms that stifle AI research and commercialization when it respects artists’ choices and copyright law.”
Many artists, including Kole, are unhappy with the announcement – some want the company to ban AI images altogether, while others want the platform to at least require artists to label and distinguish their AI-generated content from other artwork.