Deustúa is based in Guadalajara, Mexico. Most of his clients are startups and small businesses in the U.S., with a few loyal customers in Europe and Australia. “I earn more than I would with local clients,” he told Rest of World. In exchange, his clients “get some decent art at a fair price.”
But recently, Deustúa, like many creative workers globally, has encountered a new kind of competition: generative artificial intelligence.
He first noticed AI-powered submissions on 99designs’ popular “contest” feature, which allows clients to post an open call for designs before selecting their favorite. In recent months, he has seen people submitting entries created using AI image generators such as Midjourney, Stable Diffusion, and Dall-E.
“Someone who doesn’t have that talent or [hasn’t] invested years of practice in getting the skills to just ‘win’ a contest with an illustration he or she didn’t really do — that bothers me,” said Deustúa, who refuses to use AI tools in his work.