The AI Art Debate, Painting with Q-Tips, and Angry Winston Churchill

Happy Friday artists, art lovers, and parents of creative kids and teens! Welcome to Art Club: Sparketh’s weekly round-up of the latest in art news, creative resources, trending art challenges (and more.) If you love the arts and creativity, you’re in the right place.

Today, we’re debating whether AI art is a tool or a threat, learning a viral painting trend that anyone can do at home, and talking about a famous portrait (which has been STOLEN.)

Creative Debate: Will AI Replace Artists or Give Them New Tools?

Humankind has considered a lot of possibilities when it comes to Artificial Intelligence. Will AI develop its own unique consciousness? Help us reach new heights? Take over the world? Create a simulation that we will all live in while they use us up like batteries??? (Hope not).

But there’s a new – very current – question to consider when it comes to AI and creativity:

Will AI one day replace artists, or – at minimum- change the practice and value of art as we know it? 

This question springs from the creation of new AI art tools like Midjourney and Dall-E 2.

What they are:

These are AI tools that can actually create unique art based on selected parameters and specifications. They can create works that features any subjects you chose, in any setting, doing anything! These tools can even implement a famous artist’s style into the original creation by accessing and retaining information about color and style from the internet.

It’s amazing technology, but it also brings up some serious debates in the art world:

The issues:

  1. Can we call such creations true art?
  2. If we can, what are the implications for the future of art…and artists?

Perspective #1: Tools are simply tools.

No matter the tools that we may use to express our creativity, we humans have always seen ourselves as the creative masterminds behind creative endeavors (such as art). And many people see AI art tools as just that – tools: ones that can and will take our abilities to new, unimagined levels of awesome.

Perspective #2: AI art crosses an important line.

Because the dividing line between what tools and people can do has long been rooted in humanity’s creativity, these AI tools can be seen as crossing that line.  Many are concerned that, in this case, the AI becomes the real artist and makes most of the creative choices. If so, does this begin to de-value artists and change the way we view the worth of art?

What do you think, readers? Is AI art simply another tool in the artist’s toolbelt? Or does this new AI flip the switch: becoming the real artist while the person typing commands acts more like the machine? 

The below video does an excellent job investigating how this technology works and exploring some of these questions. I really appreciated that an artist and non-artist both gave Dall-E2 a try and compared their results to tackle these issues.

Check it out and decide where you stand in the great AI art debate!

One thing is for sure, we live in a quickly advancing digital age that has and continues to shape our world. The art world is – and will continue-to adapt along with it.

Trend to Try at Home: Acrylic Paint + Q-Tips

Now for something a little lighter and unobjectively hands-on…Q-Tip painting!

Most of us have a box of Q-Tips somewhere at home. After all, they are pretty much good for everything! ( And even though the box says not to stick them in your ears – admit it- you totally have.) This week, let’s add to the list of amazing things Q-Tips can do: help you paint beautiful trees.

In this week’s viral YouTube Short, an artist shows how you can use Q-Tips + acrylic paint to beautiful build and layer colors for leaves. It’s an effortless way to level up your tree painting skills.

Want to try painting some vibrant fall trees instead? To celebrate the first day of fall (September 22) one of the artists on the Sparketh team also created the below video this week. This one is a longer, more step-by-step take on the Q-Tip, tree-painting process. It does a great job of showing how you can build color from dark to light with acrylic paint to create an easy autumn painting!

Challenge: Check out these videos and try your own Q-Tip painted trees at home this week!

Art News: Famous Portrait Stolen! Owners didn’t notice.

Winston Churchill’s iconic portrait has been stolen, and he doesn’t look too pleased about it! Roaring Lion, the famous photograph by Yousuf Karsh, is one of the the most well-known and widely reproduced portraits in the world. Winston’s hard stare (which was a result of the photographer taking away his ever-present cigar), has become the image with which we identify the no-nonsense historic figure and world leader.

The Roaring Lion, Winston Churchill Photo by Yousuf Karsh, bromide print, 1941.

The original photograph has lived at the Fairmont Chateau Laurier in Ottowa, Canada for the past several decades. The hotel was a place of special significance to the artist, who gifted the establishment with a large collection of works.

Last month, however, an employee of the hotel noticed that something about it seemed…off. The frame that held Roaring Lion looked different than the other hotel frames. An examination of the signature determined that the portrait at the hotel was not the original. At some point, the original Roaring Lion was swapped for one of its many reproductions!

By asking for photographs from over the last several months from guests and employees, investigations have determined that the original was actually swapped out approximately 8 months ago (8 months!) It is thought to be an inside job, and police are investigating it further.

My thoughts: whoever stole this portrait will have to face their guilt while meeting Winston’s furious gaze. It’s all very Portrait of Dorian Gray.

Viral: Is Art School Overpriced?

“Is art school overpriced?”

This week’s viral TikTok video asks the question, and then blasts us with mind-blowing art skills. A

Art school was not what I was thinking about while watching this artist’s stunning black and white creation. Instead, I was wondering how someone’s brain and hands can work like that! But if art school could teach can help brains and hands do that, it’s pretty priceless. And that’s the point of the question, right?

In this blogger’s opinion, honing creative skills is always worth an investment, because creativity is one of the best things about being alive! What do you think, readers?


Is art school overpriced? Probably #fyp #art #artist #artschool #foryou #usc

♬ Notion – The Rare Occasions

On that note, I’m wishing you all a very happy and creative week! Catch you next week for more creativity resources and art news!