“When I was a small kid,” said Curio, a nonbinary artist and web developer from Pennsylvania, “I literally had the most expansive, vivid daydreams of a device that I could put on my head, and it would just pull the images out and put them on paper.”

Curio, who is in their 20s and asked to remain anonymous, has a form of autoimmune arthritis that makes even the smallest physical acts, like gripping a pencil, extremely painful. But when a friend introduced them to artificial intelligence text-to-image generators, like Stable Diffusion and Dall-E, last year, it changed everything. Curio began to churn out images of everything they could imagine—from Joe Biden ripping a deer apart with his hands to gorillas playing Dungeons and Dragons—and then to sell their works on user-generated shopping site Redbubble.

For Curio, Generative AI software is right “out of my childhood fantasies.” Now, for the first time in their life, they can say these words with confidence: “I am an artist.” Unfortunately, not everyone in the art world agrees with this viewpoint.