What is generative art?

Generative art is art that has been created (generated) by some sort of autonomous system rather than directly by a human artist. Nowadays, the term is commonly used to refer to images created by generative AI tools like Midjourney and DALL-E. These tools use neural networks to create art automatically based on a prompt from the user (e.g., “an elephant painted in the style of Goya”).

However, the term has been in use since before this technology existed, and it can also refer to any technique use by an artist (or writer, musician, etc.) to create art according to a process that proceeds autonomously—i.e., outside of the artist’s direct control. Examples of generative art that does not involve AI include serialism in music and the cut-up technique in literature.