The Society for Artistic Integrity evolved from a personal experience I had using Artificial Intelligence in a creative project. I am the founder of SAI, but I also own two other art businesses. I’m an oil painter with a focus on equine art and pet portraits at ArtByKimball.com and I’m also the founder and instructor at Corporate to Canvas, where I lead company team building events through painting activities. This business is similar to a “Paint and Sip” but with a professional focus on the team’s core values and/or a visual interpretation of their products and services.
In February of 2023, I was hired for an event where the team would create a collaborative painting that represented their brand. There were 35 individual canvases that were puzzle pieces of the larger image. They requested multiple themes be incorporated into the painting. These included: the San Diego skyline, optometry, their logo, brand colors and a vibrant sky/sunset.
After some sketching and moving around images in Canva, I decided to use AI for some ideas. It was brand new to me and the only prompt I knew was /imagine. I entered a variation of words based on the themes provided to me, and after a few tries, I received a creative concept I hadn’t envisioned yet. For the optometry part, I had thought of the sun as an eye, but this came back with the eye being something the viewer of the painting was looking out of. This shifted my plan and I went back to Canva, manipulated the image I had made, added portions of photos, edited colors, added the logo to the reflection in the water, and was able to fit all of the themes into the one painting! The following is the digital version / reference image for the collaborative painting activity (logo was removed).
The client was thrilled with the design, but I had a feeling of “ickiness” because it wasn’t all entirely my idea — I used AI to inform my design. While I didn’t use entirely AI generated art, it was definitely AI assisted, especially since the visual it presented was something that had not crossed my mind at that point.
This brought up a few questions:
- How should an artist disclose their use of AI?
- If something isn’t entirely AI, how is that communicated?
- AI isn’t going away, how do we adapt the creative industries to include AI?
Leading up to my transition to an art career in 2018, I had numerous jobs in a variety of fields. One thing that stood out to me when trying to answer these questions was my experience becoming a REALTOR when I was a real estate agent in the Boston area. REALTORS are required to commit to a strict Code of Ethics as it related to their buyer and seller transactions, and there was a certain prestige in having a REALTOR designation from the National Association of Realtors (instead of simply having a state license). At this point I was on to something — an association that is committed to artistic integrity!
When I told my attorney about it, she likened it to the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval. Then I got started, and wow were there a lot of iterations. Let’s just say I own a few too many domain names for the next year that will never be used.
Throughout the development of SAI, a standard was created for artists to use for designating their work appropriately as it relates to their use (or non-use) of AI. This standard can be applied to all creative industries, not just visual arts.
It’s amazing to think that one client project helped to fuel the idea for a brand new business. I’m grateful to support other artists and creatives as we move forward in a world with AI.
This blog post is SAI Certified as Human Created by Kimball Willson. No Artificial Intelligence was used to write this post.