Despite the criticism, Allen’s standing behind his work. Per his Discord post, he claims to have created “100s of images” and spent “many weeks of fine tuning” the AI in order to arrive at his finished product, and wound up selecting three to print on canvas for submission. The Colorado State Fair Fine Arts competition guidelines defines the Digital Arts as an “artistic practice that uses digital technology as part of the creative or presentation process,” which sounds exactly like what Allen was doing, but Allen’s use of AI begs the question as to whether he should be honored.

I think the question is less of whether or not Allen deserves his award, and instead one of where we draw the line with artificial intelligence in the arts. While Allen relied on AI from Midjourney to develop his piece, other artists may have used a tool like Photoshop—which features plenty of AI tools in its toolbox for image editing.