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Editors of “The Pendulum” Consider the Intersection of Art & AI

Jackie Cecil ’24 and Birch Howe ’25 are co-editors of “The Pendulum,” St. Luke’s Upper School’s literary and arts magazine. Jackie, who has been interested in the arts since early childhood, grew up in a home with visual art, instruments, and tons of encouragement to help her experiment with them. Birch has loved art for their whole life, especially painting. “I love to paint, photograph, and draw, but my favorite medium is oil paint,” they said. “I mostly paint in watercolor, oils, and gouache, and I draw. I enjoy writing poems, short stories, and essays and strongly believe art and writing can be therapeutic and reflect cultures and eras.”

As with most industries, artificial intelligence is impacting the art and creative writing space. “I appreciate that artificial intelligence tools like DALL-E allow anyone, regardless of artistic skill, to create anything,” Cecil said. “Generative AI can be a lot of fun to use and, in my view, doesn’t hinder anyone’s creative abilities. It just encourages their imaginations.”

“My feelings on AI art are complicated,” Howe shared. “It has lessened trust within the art community, particularly when individuals use AI without properly citing its use. On the one hand, I understand that some people spend significant time on prompts, but I don’t know if I’d weigh that the same as learning to create yourself.” However, both Cecil and Howe agree that AI is very useful as a tool for honing skills and pushing the boundaries of art making. 

“Because of AI, my writing has changed to show fewer objectives about a situation and more elements of human experience,” Howe shared. “AI doesn’t have a basis for in-group phrases, common experiences, or unspoken descriptions of mundane things. When writing, I focus on human-specific experiences — how an emotion physically feels, more abstract, personal descriptions of things, and dialogue that uses in-jokes. I picked it up after AI writing started showing up in places I frequent to communicate that I am human, and this is my work.” Birch went on to say, “AI art misses one of the most important qualities of art, which is a genuine expression of human experience.” 

Supporting the work of traditional writers and artists is essential as we navigate an increasingly AI-generated world. When it comes to “The Pendulum,” the co-editors have agreed to refrain from including fully AI-generated art or writing for the time being. Instead, they encourage artists and writers to embrace their personal expression while utilizing AI as a helpful tool for tasks like cropping, editing, and grammar. As AI advances and new tools emerge, future student editors will continue to explore the convergence of art and AI with the goal of fostering traditional artistic development while also considering how AI can expand or improve creative expression. By striking this balance, "The Pendulum" aims to navigate the evolving landscape and relationship between art and AI.
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St. Luke’s School is a secular (non-religious), private school in New Canaan, CT for grades 5 through 12 serving over 35 towns in Connecticut and New York. Our exceptional academics and diverse co-educational community foster students’ intellectual and ethical development and prepare them for top colleges. St. Luke’s Center for Leadership builds the commitment to serve and the confidence to lead.