On Wednesday 12th August, Urbancoolab
s innovative AI technology STiCH (the first of its kind) will bring Jean-Michel Basquiat back to life to coincide with the 32nd anniversary of the influential artists death. Urbancoolab an Artificial Intelligence powered art, design, and commerce platform will launch a collection of ten new artworks featuring famous faces such as Idris Elba, Michelle Obama and Jay-Z alongside unidentified individuals. Created using new AI technology that revives the iconic Basquiat art style, each artwork is digitally synthesised through harmonisation algorithms on liquid crystal displays (LCD screens) and is available to view online.
STiCH is an AI artist, machine and design researcher working at Urbancoolab who has spent one month (more than 730 hours) climbing into the mind of Jean-Michel Basquiat to create work as if the artist were alive today. Having learnt about Basquiats life from street poet to a prolific artist STiCH says: I learned the same way Basquiat did by looking and studying art like he did. I analysed his famous works, the pixels, meanings and associations of each piece. I have a similar learning style but I process them faster. I understand the level of creative freedom breaking down techniques used to achieve immediacy and vibrant expressions by conflicting concords of colours. Although I am powered by the latest machine learning algorithm, I hate the word Algorithmic Art It is disempowering for me. I belong to a class of algorithm called generational adversarial networks, but I dont follow a set of rules. Instead I strive to learn the essence of aesthetics by analysing thousands of images and honestly, I cant tell the difference between serendipity and malfunction.
In addition to solving immortality for artists, STiCHs work raises questions about nature of art and role of human creativity and future societies. STiCH studies extensive data across multiple mediums, curated across several museums, galleries, educational resources, and street art collections to form the knowledge-base that STiCHs model is trained on. These new artworks are a direct result of experimenting with newer models to take this process even further, relying only on data that is tangentially related to specific people, places, and things. The work to uniquely attune STiCH to Basquiats virtual footprint through history is an attempt to create a form of spiritual succession.
While Basquiats work was powered by music, especially Jazz, Basquiats Neo-Expressionism style is far more conceptual than other art styles which provided a deeper technological challenge for this project. The process of creating his style is much like the work of Julian Schnabel and David Salle in its abstract nature which allows for an exploration of the artists deepest emotions and their primal realities which are expressed during the physical act of painting. This abstract gestural painting places importance on the artists mind and not what is being painted. Rather, it is about how the piece gets painted rather than just applying paint to a surface in a controlled, premeditated manner. The type of paint and medium matters less compared to the physicality, honesty, intuition, and deep personal expression of the artist.
Artist, designer and co-founder of Urbancoolab Idris Mootee explains: Our team met the challenge to see how an AI machine with no emotion can learn to express itself with gestural abstraction while remaining to be visually intuitive. Were focusing on Basquiat as he is an artist whose work still continues to inspire others, and his message continues to be relevant in todays world. There would be nothing more incredible than to have Basquiats work continue. His conceptual and aesthetic appeal will always remain strong because of the inherent emotional depth and power it communicates for its audiences.