Walk the Arts beats AI
We knew at Walk the Arts that we had to prepare for the current upheaval of Artificial Intelligence and its impact on visual arts education. For the last quarter of a century, we have stuck to our niche and instead of offering demonstrations, we encourage our students to paint with awareness and to explore personal ways of interpreting the landscape. Only then, they would achieve authentic works. It was not easy to remain in this niche… and it is still not.
How many times were we tempted to fall into the trap of mainly teaching painting techniques now all available on the Net? Just type “How to paint an Italian Landscape” and … two million plus videos jump onto your computer screen.
And now AI is part of our life with DALL-E 2, Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, etc. short-circuiting, once more, the Art-world. At this very moment, it is possible to load one of your Italian photographs into a painting machine, and the result is astonishing. But what we have noticed is that these results are alike to all the paintings we find on Google after a search with the same above keywords”… except a few.
It is in these “exceptions of the few” that we, at Walk the Arts, are interested, for you are a unique person with creative capacities that go well beyond those of a machine. You are not a tool, but a person endowed with intelligence, experience, knowledge, and the ability to make sensible choices. Of course, on the spot during that instant, we offer painting tips and techniques such as choosing and using the right brush, good color mixing, perspective tips, and so forth. In plein-air, on location, what we examine first is the relationship you have with your easel, this back and forth between you and your canvas, this fencing with the landscape, not with a foil but with a brush; and second, the analysis of your palette in the process of transformation, how colors overspread, how much paint is left, how much space is left, etc. In other words, we assess your confidence and then your technique. These two elements go hand in hand and at Walkthearts we seriously navigate between both. Undoubtedly, this process is challenging, but we have the know-how. Artificial intelligence can’t come up with this insight that is the result of human interaction, long group discussions, and deep reflections on the art.
This is what we have done since the founding of Walk the Arts in 1997, and more than ever, we will persevere in this niche, that of a conduit of art knowledge.