VOLFGANG: Artist's Artist's Statement

TLDR: I made a print-on-demand shop that sells shirts (+ other things soon) that were designed by an AI (artificial intelligence). I currently call this shop VOLFGANG: Non-Fungible Tangibles. Right now I only have t-shirts up, because I refuse to spend money on this ridiculous thing and I need to upgrade my $ubscription to add more products. But once I get a year of $$ from sales, hooo boy – socks, shower curtains, designs a-plenty!

The full story

One of my kasquillion side projects is this AI-based, over-the-top creative studio / fashion brand / artist / designer persona who hypes up being the FUTURE OF AESTHETICS and then churns out absolutely garbage doodles that would shame even the most shameless toddler.

This persona will not undergo a growth arc. There will not be any acknowledgment of hack status. It is pure braggadocio from start to finish.

And I can’t tell you how funny I find this. I can’t tell you how funny it would be if I actually executed half of what I imagine – but I will never do that because I have no time and I’m satisfied comedically by my own thoughts, expressed to myself and my mother.

Moreover, it is a pretty niche joke. It probably only clicks for the ~10 million people trying to catch a break in the AI startup space.

In said space, there is a broad practice of selling AI’s potential and eagerly ignoring its actual, present state. It makes a lot of sense to do this. I think it is a totally valid approach, given the mechanics of people getting in early and the speed at which we get cool research findings. Totally. No shade, amigos. I just never stopped finding the juxtaposition of a lofty claim and a terrible output incredibly funny.

And that’s the full context for creating an overstated AI fashion/art haus on the back of stick figures. That’s it – that’s the whole joke. Thank you, thank you, I’ll be here until the apocalypse (2023).

Technical stuff

It’s not even worth mentioning, but for those who wanted to know, my VOLFGANG project has two models: Volfgang (Creative Director) is a simple SR-GAN that has consumed the Google QuickDraw dataset, and Baptiste (Assistant) is a mish-mash of things (CLIP/VQ-GAN) that has consumed a mish-mash of the entire history of human art. Then there’s some post-processing (vectorisation/super resolution) at the end for good measure.

An example of the !?!?! ART !?!:

Volfgang (Creative Director) Baptiste (Assistant)
Volfgang: Pig Baptiste: Whatever, man

What’s next

My intentions are to: a) flesh out the offerings from both ARTISTES (more products for Volfgang, and some canvas/postcard options for Baptiste) and amuse myself with writing the appropriate copy, b) totally forget about this project now that I have made a basic and terrible version of it, thereby briefly amusing myself, or c) some half-arsed combination of the two.