It’s no secret that society still doesn’t have an unambiguous attitude towards AI and often perceives the use of AI as cheating or even fears it. However, generated images are quite suitable for replacing photos from stocks.
The question is, is it necessary to mention the presence of DALL-E when creating oil paintings on canvas if the reference (working material) was not nature, but a generated image?
Back when photography started in the 19th Century, I’m sure many traditional artists saw the use of cameras as cheating. Even in recent history, some professional photographers who were used to working with film and in the darkroom looked down upon digital cameras, and now smart phone pictures.
Art evolves with technology, there will always be a certain resistance to change for those who don’t want to adapt. The same story plays out over and over again, so I wouldn’t be worried about the naysayers who think about AI as cheating. I just see it as the next step forward worth embracing in the evolution of art.
I couldn’t say for sure if you need to credit DALL·E for reference when creating oil paintings, would think only the the DALL·E team has authority to answer that question. But I believe it is good practice to give credit where credit is due, especially since they invested a whole lot in making DALL·E work as well as it does.