The Most Famous Artist is all about reverse-engineering art to find what works on social media. In his latest project, he’s using artificial intelligence to create like-able and sell-able work that also comments on AI’s potential to kill jobs and industries.
Earlier this month the artist, known as Matty Mo, painted three soon-to-be demolished houses in Los Angeles bright pink. They became a hit for photoshoots and selfies, or in Mo’s parlance, an “Instagram honeypot.” He’s moved onto his next project looking into AI and tech. The show kicked off Tuesday with a one-day gallery pop-up in downtown San Francisco.
Mo said his big, public stunts like the pink houses are what he considers “interrogations.” For that project he was looking into gentrification and community. With his latest project, “Artificial Intelligence: The End of Art As We Know It” he’s starting a conversation about big data, robots,and AI in everyday life.
He worked with anonymous hackers to create large portraits of digitized and filtered faces of factory workers, art dealers, pilots, artists, taxi drivers — all professions he believes won’t exist once machines can do a better job.
To make the portraits he built his own proprietary AI-assisted computer program that takes images and online filters to create stylized prints of everyday people and celebrities, like Tesla CEO Elon Musk, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, performer Kanye West, and reality show star Kim Kardashian West. Mo says all these people will be impacted by an AI takeover or are helping propel this technology.
For his gallery show he used only filters based on the artist Chuck Close — but his program can take in any style and photo (he looked for iconic images online) and create large pieces that he tests out on Instagram to see how many likes and purchase clicks he gets.
At the gallery Tuesday afternoon Mo said “great artists use the tools of our time to tell the story of our time.” He wanted to present the work in a traditional art space to show how something can be perceived as beautiful art without knowing that a robot or computer program made the work. He believes knowing how it’s made can change its perception.
After Tuesday’s showing, the work lives on online, where the portraits are going for about $500. His computer program is still being shaped and learning his preferences as he trains it to eventually create stylized prints that are optimized to do well on a platform like Instagram.
As Mo said, “It’s AI assisting artists or artists assisting AI.”
Welcome to the future.