We’ve heard quite a bit about AI over the last several months. News outlets have been generating a steady stream of stories with subtle headlines like
Is AI coming for your job? ChatGPT renews fears
The AI Arms Race Is Changing Everything
Would “artificial superintelligence” lead to the end of life on Earth?
While it’s hard to ignore the existential angst, I’ve been interested to see the development of these new tools and have been pondering what impact they might have on the art business. Much of the focus in the art world has been on generative AI art, and I’ve sensed some uneasiness from artists about the threat this might pose to an artist trying to sell original artwork. I’ve already written a bit about AI art in this post (spoiler: I don’t think artists need to worry).
Today I want to suggest that text-generative AI like ChatGPT should be of more immediate interest to those of us in the art world as it shows potential for enhancing our businesses in the near term.
I’ve been using ChatGPT as a kind of AI assistant for the last several months, and it’s been amazing to see what it can do. ChatGPT has helped me automate some of our gallery spreadsheets to save time tracking sales, has assisted in follow-up conversations with clients, has helped me write Facebook and Instagram ads, and, yes, it has helped me outline and draft blog posts (this post is human-generated . . . mostly 😁)
If you haven’t tried ChatGPT, and if you feel a little reticent about the concept of AI, I encourage you to give it a spin. Once you begin to get a sense of how it works and its potential use cases, I suspect you’ll gain a new perspective on the conversations around AI.
How ChatGPT Might Help You Build Your Art Business
I prompted ChatGPT by asking, “I’m an artist trying to increase my sales. What are seven ways you might help me with my marketing?”
As an AI language model, I can provide you with seven ways to help increase your sales and market your art:
- Social Media Marketing: I can assist you with social media marketing by recommending the best social media platforms to promote your art on and the most effective ways to engage with your audience.
- Search Engine Optimization (SEO): I can provide you with SEO strategies to help your website rank higher in search engine results, which can increase your online visibility and drive more traffic to your website.
- Content Marketing: I can help you create compelling content that showcases your art and appeals to your target audience. This can include blog posts, videos, and social media content.
- Email Marketing: I can help you build an email list of potential customers and create email campaigns to promote your art and drive sales.
- Influencer Marketing: I can assist you in identifying influencers in your industry and collaborate with them to promote your art to their audience.
- Online Advertising: I can provide guidance on how to create and run online ads on various platforms such as Google, Facebook, and Instagram, which can help increase your sales and reach a broader audience.
- Analyzing data and making recommendations: I can provide data analysis to help you understand your target audience, measure the success of your marketing campaigns, and make data-driven decisions to improve your marketing efforts.
These are certainly appropriate areas of interest for many artists. The power of ChatGPT comes in the ability to continue the conversation. I next asked, “Can you provide more details about how you might help me with email marketing?”
Certainly! [this AI certainly is enthusiastic!] Here are some ways that I can assist you with email marketing:
- Building an Email List: I can provide you with tips on how to grow your email list of potential customers by offering incentives, creating lead magnets, and optimizing your website for conversions.
- Creating Email Campaigns: I can help you design and create effective email campaigns that showcase your art and drive sales. This can include crafting compelling subject lines, creating visually appealing emails, and writing persuasive copy that encourages readers to take action.
- Segmentation and Personalization: I can assist you in segmenting your email list based on factors such as past purchases, engagement levels, and interests, and personalizing your email campaigns to cater to each segment’s specific needs and preferences.
- A/B Testing: I can guide you in conducting A/B tests to determine which email subject lines, images, and copy are most effective at driving sales and engaging your audience.
- Analytics and Reporting: I can provide you with data analysis and reporting to help you measure the success of your email campaigns, track metrics such as open rates and click-through rates, and make data-driven decisions to improve your email marketing efforts.
Overall, email marketing can be an effective way to build relationships with your audience, showcase your art, and drive sales. With my assistance, you can create effective email campaigns that resonate with your target audience and help you achieve your marketing goals.
As you continue the conversation, you can receive more and more detailed guidance to help you accomplish suggested approaches to marketing.
This is a simple example of a conversation, but ChatGPT could help you with a broad range of tasks. For example, you might employ ChatGPT to help you draft a caption for artwork you are planning to share on Instagram. You could ask ChatGPT to help you brainstorm ideas for new art projects, provide feedback on your current work, or suggest new techniques or mediums to experiment with. With its vast knowledge and language capabilities, ChatGPT can assist artists in a variety of ways, helping them to become more productive, creative, and successful in their work. Your imagination and your ability to ask the right questions will allow ChatGPT to become even more helpful.
Current AI has some significant limitations. The way the systems were set up, they have limited knowledge about current events and, worse, often make up their own “facts.” The systems aren’t very creative either, often delivering generic or repetitive content. You’ll begin to get a sense of other limitations; however, if you provide context and specific direction, you can work your way around many of these limitations.
How to Get Started
To give ChatGPT a try, set up a free (at least it’s free at the time I’m writing this) account at https://chat.openai.com/. Once you have registered, you’ll arrive at the minimalist interface of the system, with a field at the bottom inviting you to send ChatGPT a message. I suggest you start with something simple.
Have You Tried Using AI?
Have you experimented with using AI like ChatGPT? Have you found it helpful? What interesting prompts have you tried, and what have the resulting conversations been? Are you excited about AI? Do you have reservations?
Share your thoughts and experiences in the comments below.
I used Google’s new BARD to ask this question: “Can you help me set up a social media campaign?” and I received an answer just as thorough and well organized as the one you received.
Writing is all about voice– I can tell the bit in your blog post that you used AI assist:
“This is a simple example of a conversation, but ChatGPT could help you with a broad range of tasks. For example, you might employ ChatGPT to help you draft a caption for artwork you are planning to share on Instagram. You could ask ChatGPT to help you brainstorm ideas for new art projects, provide feedback on your current work, or suggest new techniques or mediums to experiment with. With its vast knowledge and language capabilities, ChatGPT can assist artists in a variety of ways, helping them to become more productive, creative, and successful in their work. Your imagination and your ability to ask the right questions will allow ChatGPT to become even more helpful..”
There are rhythms and word combinations native to you that aren’t in this example. Original art and original voice are essential to me, but I am excited to use AI for all those other great uses you (it) list above.
I agree with you – an invaluable tool! I found it very useful in coming up with descriptive copy for my functional work (I get stuck on coming up with suitably enticing benefits and overemphasizing features – who really cares how many coats of varnish something has?) For my wall art I’ve found it useful in getting me started on easily comprehensible artist statements. And so far still free.
Jason did you notice in Shopify there now is an Autowrite button beside the product description text box? I haven’t explored its function fully yet but it does seem to propose more customer-centric descriptions than those I generally write (benefits vs features).
I built a new website this winter and one issue I’ve stalled on is creating a privacy statement. I’ve always been a privacy advocate but now that I’m collecting email registrations and collecting data through Google Analytics, Facebook and Mailchimp, the shoe is on the other foot and I have to put a statement on my website about what information I collect and how I will use it. My intentions aren’t nefarious but I still have to put it in writing. So I asked ChatGPT what I should use and got good direction but no language. I’ve pasted the answer below.
Also, as an aside, the Copenhagen Photo Festival features an artist this year, Craig Ames, who uses AI to rework photos of algae. Quite interesting: https://copenhagenphotofestival.com/en/2023/spring-is-here-and-so-is-this-years-poster/
Here is ChatGPT’s response to my question:
1 Types of information collected: This should include the types of personal information collected, such as name, email address, and location data, as well as non-personal information like IP addresses and browser type.
2 Use of information: Explain how the information collected will be used, such as for analytics purposes, to personalize content, or to send promotional emails.
3 Sharing of information: Detail who the information may be shared with, such as third-party service providers, advertisers, or law enforcement agencies.
4 Security measures: Describe the security measures in place to protect the information collected, such as encryption and firewalls.
5 User options: Provide information on how users can access, update, or delete their personal information, as well as how to opt-out of certain uses.
6 Legal requirements: Explain how the website will comply with applicable laws and regulations, such as GDPR or CCPA.
It would be even better to get the complete ready-to-go text for the Privacy section. Something I need to add as well.
I’ve been using it for the last month to write blog posts (twenty!), and love it. Also, I used it once to write a FB post, and was transparent about it on the post:
“Starting on my next commission. I asked Chat GPT to write a caption, and here is what it offered, 🤣😆:
Well, well, well – looks like we’ve got a master craftsman over here! With Titebond Ultimate adhesive and corner brackets, your latest creation is sure to be the envy of all the woodworking enthusiasts out there (and the fear of all the flimsy, half-baked projects, too). So go forth and conquer, oh mighty glue-and-bracket wielder, and may your commission be as solid and reliable as the day is long.”
After her artist mother made fun of my friend’s decision to do a colored pencil drawing of a beet plant, we asked ChatGPT to write an artist statement for “an artist who likes to draw beets”. The result made us laugh ourselves silly. My friend sent it to her mother, who responded “I’m speechless.” We’re still laughing.
Thanks Jason, I have really appreciated your posts and have learned from them to market my art. Thank you! Regarding ChatGPT, I see how using it can be of benefit as listed above.
However, I fundamentally oppose using this new technology, as the downsides for our human culture are so grave. We are not yet ready as a culture to handle the negative possibilities. Over the last period and now with increasing speed, we are more and more enticed based on convenience and all kinds of other seeming benefits to merge with AI. However, there is an agenda behind this that is not beneficial to humankind, with the potential to loose the essence of our humanity into a transhumanist future where humans and AI are fully merged. Even high profile individuals in the tech world like Elon Musk are now warning us of this danger.
So even though I am very grateful for computers, phones, and other technology to support our human and artist experience, I feel that responsible use must be advocated (especially to young people), and I rather not combine with this ChatGPT technology, as we are about to lose our human boundaries (not to mention what teachers are already going through with their students using this technology to write their papers).
I trust that I will still find all I need to increase my reach in this world as a visionary artist. And I hope more and more people recognize what is at stake going forward in merging humans with AI technology.
Thank you for listening.
I would look at the guys who broke it, chatbotGBT. It’s written by a bunch of woke fools and what it will give you is much the same. Try using your own brain and writing skills. Get some help if you need it but…. Everyone to themselves. Just my opinion.
I have used AI (Playground) for creating some elements I have used in creating composite images. I don’t use it for creating full or final images, as among other things, it wouldn’t be totally “my” creation (I really couldn’t take full credit for a totally AI generated image, though I do believe that artists using AI to create fully finished images do deserve credit and perhaps “ownership” of their creation – else how do you explain the huge variance in image quality, interest of content, & beauty between some incredible AI images and the mostly run-of-the-mill, or even atrocious, “artworks” others are producing with it – the skill of prompting, repetitive refinement, direction of guidance of the AI toward on artist’s conception has very much to do with the final result, and surely the artist guiding the AI has therefore a significant part in the resultant outcome. I have never yet seen really really good artwork produced non-artists using AI, but have seen extremely fine artworks produced by certain artists repeatedly – I follow a bunch of Goth artists using AI to create Goth art that is really quite beautiful and emotionally powerful.
And this is what i have found so far – AI is a tool that an artist may choose to use in making art, just as a camera is a tool that some artists can use to make art. The camera allowed anyone to produce a “realistic” image, which previous to the camera, only certain trained, or naturally talented, artists could do. Yet neither did that replace artists and “art” or make it commonplace and boring, or within reach of everyone who could purchase a camera (just witness the absolutely huge amount of totally atrocious photography done by 99% of all people with a camera – over the camera’s history so far it must be billions, if not hundreds of billions, of horrible images ) – but it did allow certain “artistic” individuals to start producing really interesting visual art using the camera. It even allowed certain individuals, who perhaps wouldn’t have been considered “artistic” previous to the camera’s invention, who were perhaps unskilled in “paint” handling, to express and create what they couldn’t have before – The same is true for AI. It will not turn a non-artist into an artist – but it may allow certain individuals, with interesting imaginations, to produce very fine visual art that they could not have made before it – And yes, these people will now be seen for the artists they always were.
As for an artist’s use of AI for non-visual tasks – absolutely! You wouldn’t fault any artist, when typewriters came out, for typing up a list of artworks and prices for an art show instead of hand writing it would you??
I believe if the work created by the AI is all done by your prompts, you knowing how you want it composed – colors, texture, line, layout, subject, theme etc. the art is yours. Otherwise it’s like saying because an artist uses paint brushes and paint to lay the art on canvas the art is not his or hers. You apply the same knowledge to creating AI art as you do to creating art with a paint brush. AI is just another tool in your hands. Hence why some AI art looks better than others…the difference in skill of the artists. Skill of the artist equal artist owns the work. That’s my view.
I have been using the art AI called ‘starryai’. It has two prompts that you can use, a text and a picture. My text reflects my work, “hard-edge geometric minimalist abstraction”. The picture prompt is my own work. I have tried using historic pieces but it doesn’t feel right to me to do that. I have no format options on the free version but I have options on refining the process with more time and scans. Anyway, I hit the creat button and wait. In about a minute you have four versions of your input. I have found that the more scans you request the results becomes less minimalistic. Bottom line: I have had 240 design outputs and I have able to use one element in one of those outputs to work with. I think it is interesting but not effective right now. Maybe it is my prompt, I don’t know. But it is free and introduces me to AI.
. Hey Jason, thanks for the article. I believe that AI is at this point not even looking at intelligence it can’t do so many things that the critical thinking creative person can. I love it for its writing skills. It’s a language tool. I’ve used it for making lists of galleries near me that would like my work and put in my website. I used it for looking at rewriting things in first person or second person or third person whatever. I canceled my Grammarly subscription, and the AI is cheaper. I am not at all happy with the visual parts of Dolly etc. just doesn’t do anything for me the way that the first generators did. We always go to the news so this is very interesting and if there is some actual problem six months of keeping it where it is is fine by me especially if it’s been thought about, and suggested to hold by many people that are involved in developments of , science and engineering.
I am relieved that you explain you have been using ChatGPT for some of your recent posts. After reading a few I started to wonder whether you had died or were very ill and a family member or someone who wasn’t very familiar with art like you are was trying to fill in without alarming the readers. The sense of that human voice that you have and that deep understanding just wasn’t there. However it didn’t cross my mind that ChatGPT was in the house 😁. I had even started ignoring the posts and even deleting some without reading (not that I always take time to read all of them😊). That being said, I have briefly looked at ChatGPT. I love the precision with which it works in delivering feedback and information. It’s also time saving in that you don’t have to be searching all over the place when trying to gather information on a particular subject. You can stay in one place and have your conversations, and have your questions answered. That also being said, I think ChatGPT is not going to cause any problems and it will not be a cheat sheet as some people have been saying. If you don’t understand what you want, what you are getting, and how to compose after the information is given, you may still end up with low quality work. Not to mention the mechanical voice which I sensed in some of your posts over the last few months. I think people are still going to prefer the human feel. So one has to be able to still compose in one’s own voice. Showing one’s own understanding. Otherwise it might just turn people away.
😆 it’s also possible that some of my writing is a bit mechanical or stilted without much help from AI. I’m not sure if I should admit that if you look over posts for the last month, 90% we’re written entirely without AI, and of those that involved AI, GPT contributed to about 20-30% of the content, so . . .🤷♂️
The skill is going to come in wielding AI tools in ways that still provide value for readers and viewers.
ChatGPT is becoming the ‘left brain’ to my ‘right brain’. I am finding this tool immensely time saving where it comes to creating or recreating legalese for agreements and memorandums. Normally, when i am in my studio / painting mode I find it very difficult to move out of that zone and into the mode that is more rational, linear, and literal. It is extremely impressive about the quickness of responses to my questions.
Who said that the future belongs to the one who asks the best questions. Thanks to Jason for introducing me to this powerful tool.
This was a very interesting and thought- provoking article, but I think something fundamental was missed. Shaukya and Michael came closest to expressing it.
When I read Jason’s thoughts on AI my brain said ‘yes’ but my gut said ‘no’. Why did I have such a mixed reaction? I think it’s because AI is language-based, but art is not. Art comes from a place much older than language. Art comes from the right brain, which is wholistic and conceptual.
So, yes, embrace AI if you want to, especially when you need some language-based help. It could save you some time and effort in many areas of the art business. It could be a great tool.
But personally, I will be very careful not to let AI into the world of creating art itself. Art is the visual means of expressing concepts. That’s its purpose, and that’s what it does best. Scientists are pretty sure that the artists who left their glorious paintings in the caves of Lascaux had no language, or at least no written language to express themselves. Their art tells us more than words could ever say.
I have about 15 blogs ready to go but I cannibalize them so it’s my style and my voice in the blog. The advantage is that I have ready to go ideas that I can improve upon or just use as starting points. Other usages I read here are very helpful and I will try them. Thanks y’all!