Creative Pirates — The “Manufactured” Outrage Against AI Art

Marissa Loewen
3 min readDec 5, 2022
My own output from the Lensa AI viral trend sweeping the FB newsfeed right now. You pay for so many images you generate. Me with a head-hand addition or creepy doll look might not make it to a gallery near you anytime soon.

If you find yourself suddenly shocked or outraged about the robots stealing art so people can make brightly coloured selfies that have body parts growing out of their head — I should tell you about cultural appropriation, genocide, PETA lobbying Etsy to throttle Indigenous economies using seal fur, and then we can head into your favourite •any home decor and clothing store• and talk about how all of those designs are skimmed from artists and creatives to create fast fashion and throwaway decorations.

As an artist and event planner who plans pop ups focused on furthering the art economy and creating a solid economic foundation for artists and makers — this isn’t new.

Etsy Forums used to be an amazing way to rally thousands of artists together to rail against the corporations who literally copied artist work and sold it on the cheap. But even then we talked about how no ideas were new and we just all made variations and played with concepts we see elsewhere.

AI didn’t start the fire. It’s been always burning since colonialism, why te supremacy and yes your beloved capitalism has been churning. (Thanks Billy Joel for writing most of this)

But I am glad we are talking about it. I have a complicated relationship with AI, especially as someone with disabilities and I use it to help me complete tasks and be abled in some ways.

I am glad people are talking about where ideas come from, how to attribute inspiration, how to recognize the economic impacts that appropriation can have on the original creators but also when you are exposed to so many different kinds of art, when you see it elsewhere — it starts to become familiar to you and I love the idea that people are now going to be buying more from artists who create in these genres because they have been exposed to the possibilities.

From an economic aspect, if I was an artist selling my work for income, I would be maximizing my SEO right now to capture the folks searching these genres out.

I recently wanted to make a potato comic to vent some inner thoughts. I originally went into Midjourney to make a “cute potato line drawing with facial features” and quickly realized I could maybe learn how to use photoshop to make me a better version. Now I have an Instagram started for my pohtayto diaries.

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Marissa Loewen

Business Strategist, Community Enthusiast, Idea Catalyst & lover of BIG bold questions, the answers & the spaces in between.