Rutkowski’s ‘Castle Defense, 2018’ (Source: Greg Rutkowski)

AI-Generated Art Draws Largely from Graphic Designers’ Works on the Internet

Greg Rutkowski became a popular artist on the internet for his dramatic, painting-like digital works, created primarily for video games, such as Sony’s Horizon Forbidden West, Ubisoft’s Anno, Dungeons & Dragons, and Magic: The Gathering.

The fantasy-oriented artist, however, has become a victim of his own popularity as those who use open-source AI apps to generate art have decided to add his name in their prompts for creating “original” digital works via such as Stable Diffusion, launched in September.

According to a story on MIT’s, the Polish artist’s work is more imitated in those programs than any other artist’s on the internet, including Picasso:

“According to the website Lexica, which tracks over 10 million images and prompts generated by Stable Diffusion, Rutkowski’s name has been used as a prompt around 93,000 times. Some of the world’s most famous artists, such as Michelangelo, Pablo Picasso, and Leonardo da Vinci, brought up around 2,000 prompts each or less. Rutkowski’s name also features as a prompt thousands of times in the Discord of another text-to-image generator, Midjourney.”

At first Rutkowski was flattered and thought it could translate into popularity. Then he discovered through online searches that the AI-generated versions that imitate his works are more predominant than his original works.

“It’s been just a month,” Rutkowski told “What about in a year? I probably won’t be able to find my work out there because [the internet] will be flooded with AI art. That’s concerning.”

Some artists are challenging the use of imitations or actual theft of parts of their works, “scraped” from internet sites. Karla Ortiz, an illustrator based in San Francisco whose work is in Stable Diffusion’s data set, has been raising awareness about the issues around AI art and copyright and talking with other artists about addressing the problem. So far, none of the open-source sites have responded to complaints by artists.

“Berlin-based artists Holly Herndon and Mat Dryhurst are working on tools to help artists opt out of being in training data sets. They launched a site called Have I Been Trained, which lets artists search to see whether their work is among the 5.8 billion images in the data set that was used to train Stable Diffusion and Midjourney. Some online art communities, such as Newgrounds, are already taking a stand and have explicitly banned AI-generated images.”

In the UK, scraping images without the artist’s consent could be a copyright infringement, says Gill Dennis, a lawyer at the firm Pinsent Masons.