Vietnam-based digital artist Ben Moran simply wanted to share their latest piece on r/Art, Reddit’s premier art subreddit. Instead, they were abruptly banned by moderators who accused them of generating the work using AI, which is banned on the forum.
Moran took to Twitter to share their grievances, sharing a screenshot of their exchange with one of the forum’s moderators. They offered to send the raw Adobe Photoshop file that would transparently reveal their process, but the furious moderator shut Moran down.
“I don’t believe you,” the moderator responded. “Even if you did ‘paint’ it yourself, it’s so obviously an AI prompted design that it doesn’t matter.”
“If you really are a ‘serious’ artist,” they continued, “then you need to find a different style, because A) no one is going to believe when you say it’s not AI, and B) the AI can do better in seconds what might take you hours.”
Clearly, the incident is emblematic of the anti-AI sentiment sweeping through the art community at large, but at times the well intentioned stance can reach a fever pitch.
AI image generators like Stable Diffusion and Midjourney are trained on datasets that use images pulled from large art communities like ArtStation without artists’ permissions, which many would argue constitutes theft.
As such, Moran, who runs their own art studio, is also against the development of AI art — which makes the moderator’s trigger happy decision all the more ironic.