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LA Frieze 2023: The Los Angeles Art World Is Having Its Gilded Age Moment




Artwork clockwise from top left Alex Katz Sunrise 12 at the Schindler House. Henry Taylor Untitled at MOCA. Rick Lowe...
Artwork, clockwise from top left: Alex Katz, Sunrise 12, (2021) at the Schindler House. Henry Taylor, Untitled (2021) at MOCA. Rick Lowe, Rotation (Revolution) (2023) at the Gagosian booth at Frieze LA.Frieze: Courtesy of Frieze Los Angeles;  Getty Villa, DiCaprio, Condo, Kordansky: Getty Images; Katz: Alex Katz , Sunrise 12, 2021. © Alex Katz / VAGA at Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY Courtesy of the artist and Gladstone Gallery; Taylor: Henry Taylor, Untitled, 2021, acrylic on linen, 54 1/8 x 1 1/4 in. (182.6 x 137.5 x 3.2 cm). Image and work ©Henry Taylor, courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth. Photo by Jeff McLane.

On Monday evening, a line of cars backed up traffic on an exit of the Pacific Coast Highway in Malibu. They were waiting to get into a rare private event at the Getty Villa, the seaside mansion built by oil heir J. Paul Getty, once the richest man in the world. Before Getty died in England during its construction, the place was set to be his house, which is pretty outrageous. The Getty Villa is a 65-acre ode to extravagance, built as an exact replica of the Villa of the Papyri in Herculaneum, a city destroyed when Mount Vesuvius burst in AD 79. It’s a display of opulence not matched anywhere in Los Angeles. The last time the Getty Villa was rented out was for a Summit of the Americas dinner this past summer hosted by President Joe Biden and first lady Dr. Jill Biden for more than 20 heads of state.

This week the fête was Frieze, the global art fair conglomerate that was set to open its fourth and biggest LA edition yet Thursday at the Santa Monica Airport. In the days before, the party was hyped in hushed tones, with glamour-starved booth habitués hoping for a blockbuster event. It was being hosted not only by the Getty family and Frieze kingpin Ari Emanuel—a robust art lover who has been buying up canvases by Kara Walker, Mark Bradford, Barkley L. Hendricks, and others—but by a new era of budding collection-building plutocrats in Los Angeles. On the committee were Anissa Balson, the great-granddaughter of William Randolph Hearst, and Balthazar Getty, the great-grandson of J. Paul Getty. There were moneymen like TCG chairman Peter Chernin and RDF Consulting founder Rodney Franks, along with longtime Capital Group president Robert Lovelace. From the foreign service were former ambassadors Robert Tuttle and James Costos, and representing the artists were Lauren Halsey, Calida Rawles, and Dyani White Hawk. And then there were the new-school collectors, such as Goop founder Gwyneth Paltrow, Facebook-famous billionaire Sean Parker, and the ’90s pop icon Ricky Martin.

Those invited ogled the never-ending fruit-tree-lined grounds until they reached the outer peristyle of the Roman Gardens, punctuated by statues of ancient philosophers and poets. They walked past the glowing ovular pool and into the inner peristyle, a square fortress with anterooms spinning off that showcased Getty’s thousands-deep collection of Greek and Roman antiquities: The Lansdowne Heracles; a larger-than-life marble nude known as the Getty Kouros; the 5th-century BC bronze known as Victorious Youth, a work that famously was not among the dozens of looted sculptures that the Getty had to send back to Italy.


Among the thousands of years’ worth of beautiful objects, the cream of the 2023 art world, many dressed by fashion sponsor Loewe, tippled martinis and snacked on canapés as a DJ blasted hip-hop.

“It’s a bit like Pinault in Venice, no?” said Sarah Douglas, editor in chief of ARTnews and Art in America, who was standing with Sophia Penske, the rising LA art adviser whose uncle Jay Penske bought both magazines in 2018, and has since snapped up Artforum, and most recently taken a big stake in Vox Media. Douglas was alluding to the ultra-exclusive black-tie bash that billionaire François Pinault, perhaps the world’s biggest art collector, throws on a private island in Venice during the Biennale. It’s often referred to as the most lavish art shindig on the annual calendar. Not so long ago the idea that Los Angeles, a onetime art world backwater, could host a party that holds a candle to the Venice fest was once absurd—now, no longer.

The crowd swelled with artists such as Jack Pierson, Lorna Simpson, and 96-year-old Betye Saar, who sat in a chair receiving guests. I spied Chance the Rapper black-slapping Owen Wilson and there were so, so many Gettys. In addition to Balthazar, I was introduced to Kendalle Getty, and later saw June Getty, Violet Getty, and Rosetta Getty. At a certain point, Getty director Dr. Katherine Fleming took the microphone and started thanking her cohosts, including the fashion sponsor.

“It’s ‘low-ev-ay.’ If you didn’t know how to pronounce it before, now you do,” Fleming said.

Much of the crowd was too fired up to listen as Fleming talked, and she ended her toast by noting that “there are people who are listening and there are people who couldn’t give a rat’s ass.”

It was perhaps a bit hard to blame anyone for their excitement, given the splendor of the night and the general giddiness surrounding the fair. Even Robert Soros, the son of George Soros, who sits on the boards of MoMA PS1, the Brooklyn Museum, and the Hammer Museum, was looking around, stunned.

“You look around at this, and you think, Well, it’s possible that a house is too big,” Soros said.

Between the new spaces opened by the world’s biggest galleries, a few soon-to-reopen world-class museums, and a party befitting the oilman mega-billionaire who dreamed up the venue, it’s fair to say that Los Angeles is entering a new Gilded Age. In the five years since Frieze announced that it would open a fair in LA, the city has become a landscape where longtime patrons mingle among arrivistes from New York and Europe intent on establishing beachheads on the West Coast.

Hauser & Wirth kick-started the gold rush in 2016 when it announced that it had bought a block-size space in the arts district to house a gallery complex and restaurant, complete with a chicken coop for fresh eggs. Seven years later, the Swiss-born powerhouse has doubled down in Tinseltown. This week, Hauser & Wirth opened a West Hollywood space with a show of new work by market kingpin George Condo. The gallery fêted him appropriately with a small dinner after Leonardo DiCaprio and Al Pacino showed up. (Condo and Pacino, who arrived with his adviser, Ralph DeLuca, realized they had an ex-girlfriend in common.) Condo also managed a long private audience with Hans Ulrich Obrist at the opening.

Last September, New York’s Karma opened a space in West Hollywood. More recently, Jeffrey Deitch expanded to a second location down the street, and NYC-based Sargent’s Daughters recently opened an outpost in a micro-neighborhood called Melrose Hill. But the bolstered gallery network has nothing on what’s about to happen to LA’s museum scene. After a decade of planning, LACMA’s new building is finally being constructed, a space that may rival anything on the East Coast. And then there’s the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, set to house the expanding collection of George Lucas and Mellody Hobson, one that could come to match the horde of American paintings assembled by the Bentonville baroness Alice Walton.

MOCA has a Henry Taylor survey that is probably the most talked-about show in town—it’s coming to The Whitney later in the year. LA also had the rare chance to experience Paul McCarthy’s “WS White Snow,” last seen terrorizing pearl-clutching Upper East Siders at the Park Avenue Armory in 2013 and stored at a giant warehouse in East LA ever since. The artist himself was on hand to give a tour, his Walt Disney alter ego on giant screens behind him doing all sorts of sordid stuff to Snow White and the seven dwarfs.

“It hasn’t aged a bit—if anything, it looks better now,” said Iwan Wirth, who’s worked with McCarthy since 1998.

And if you need more, LA will also soon be home to Luna Luna, an ambitious project that will rehab an artist-created theme park once housed in Hamburg, Germany, set to feature a ferris wheel by Jean-Michel Basquiat and a carousel by Keith Haring. The investors—led by Drake—hope it can be an experiential art project taken seriously by the gallery crowd. Judging by a visit to its current half-assembled state in a downtown hangar, the investors shouldn’t be losing sleep.

And along with new galleries and museums and large-scale art projects, more collectors are needed—more clients to see work in person and buy on impulse, more patrons to give work to institutions in exchange for future spots on their boards. True, there have always been art collectors in Los Angeles. Vincent Price amassed Impressionist masterpieces in the early days of Hollywood, and then in the ’60s the Nathansons established a bonkers Pop collection. But the city has lacked the lineage of philanthropy that runs so deep through Wall Street’s ruling families and the clans that control New York’s real estate billions.

There is an opening in Los Angeles to do just that. The 2021 death of collector Eli Broad has created a void that’s hard to overstate—he was the longtime board chair of LACMA and the founder of MOCA and then the founder of The Broad, across the street from MOCA. Over the course of 50 years, Broad amassed a singular collection, and generously loaned out work to local institutions. The Broad’s 50,000 square feet of exhibition space can only fit so much, and as if to lay bare its holdings, much of the work not on display can be seen slotted into storage through portholes on the stairs.

“Broad was like Getty,” said François Ghebaly, who recently opened a second gallery in town. “There are big shoes to be filled.”

David Kordansky may look younger than his years, so I was somewhat taken aback to be reminded that this October marks the 20th anniversary of the gallery in LA, started by the dealer in Chinatown in 2003. Now, he acknowledges that he’s something of an ambassador to Los Angeles, showing the rest of the world that it’s possible to build a successful gallery program in town. First, they have to understand that, despite the climate appeal, foot traffic here is a far cry from that in Manhattan.

“I’m all for it, for galleries to come out West—isn’t that the California ideal?” Kordansky said. “It’s been incredible to see this art scene become what it is today. But it’s still not New York, where we recently opened a gallery. It’s a totally different landscape there. On a weekly basis, we’re looking at 150 to 200 visitors in LA versus 2,500 in Chelsea.”

Kordansky was sitting in his office in the back of the gallery, which was expanded in 2020 by architect Kulapat Yantrasast, who has also designed every single big white Frieze tent. Around the room were small works by a number of artists in the program, along with many, many Grateful Dead grails. A quick selection: the amp Jerry Garcia used to record American Beauty, and a guitar given to him by Bob Weir, whom Kordansky considers a friend.

Ghebaly had been eyeing expansion for years, but didn’t pull the trigger until he found a space in Hollywood, where a critical mass of galleries has assembled in the past few years.

“There’s something exciting about being closer to a powerful collection of galleries. It felt right,” Ghebaly said.

Ghebaly and I were having a sunny outdoor lunch at Petit Trois, a snails-and-steaks joint for the anti-Erewhon set originally opened by Jon Shook, Vinny Dotolo, and Ludo Lefebvre, before Lefebvre bought them out. Shook and Dotolo got their start catering for the art collectors Benedikt and Lauren Taschen—now, with an empire built behind the red-sauce joint Jon & Vinny’s, they’ve become collectors themselves.

As the week got started, collectors began opening up their homes and venturing down from their mansions nestled into the hills and overlooking the canyons. On Sunday, NBA courtside superfan James Goldstein had a swank shindig at his John Lautner–designed home in Bel-Air, famous as a location in The Big Lebowski. Collector Jason Swartz was on hosting duty, and locals such as Jason Rubell and Beth Rudin DeWoody rolled through to gawk at the infinity-pool views of the city and smack a few balls on the rooftop tennis court. On Monday, those who managed to get out of the Getty Villa bonanza early headed to a dinner for Joel Mesler at the Maybourne Beverly Hills—spotted were record exec turned collector Josh Abraham and the actor Lake Bell. On Tuesday, the collector Jeff Magid opened up his Hollywood Hills home to visitors, who saw works by John Baldessari, Miriam Cahn, and Rick Lowe, and Magid talked about the massive gallery and artist residency he’s opening next year in Mexico City’s arty Condesa neighborhood. There was Frieze’s bash at the Beverly Hills Hotel and Lisson Gallery’s dinner at El Carmen, but many went home early to get ready for Wednesday morning’s opening of Felix, the fair that camps out at the groovy Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. Collector Marty Eisenberg was at a cabana checking out the booth of New York gallery Broadway while pale New Yorkers clamored to snag deck chairs lining the Hockney-painted pool.

And Wednesday night, after openings at Sprüth Magers (the great German provocateur Anne Imhof) and UTA Artist Space (the late, great Ernie Barnes) there was a cocktail party hosted by Kordansky at the Hotel Bel-Air, the Beverly Hills Hotel’s sister pad set deep in the Santa Monica Mountains, so removed from the Hollywood hubbub it’s practically a destination resort. There, Gagosian’s Antwaun Sargent sipped a negroni with Awol Erizku as Kordansky chatted with Dallas collectors Eric and Debbie Green. The party was celebrating a solo booth of new paintings by Chase Hall, which had already sold out, with many works going to institutions.

And then Gladstone Gallery hosted a select few at the hot spot Gigi’s to celebrate a show of work by Alex Katz at the Schindler House, the Hollywood home designed by Rudolph Schindler, who lived there with his fellow architect Richard Neutra until they had a bitter falling-out. The masterful paintings—depicting Sunrise Ruffalo, the actress and shop owner who’s married to Mark Ruffalo—dominated the small house, a rare example of an intimate hang in a city so dominated by massive venues.

The nonagenarian Katz flew in for the occasion, and there to give him a big LA hello was his longtime dealer, Gavin Brown. Also around were the artists Arthur Jafa and Frances Stark, as well as collector Kris Jenner, flanked by a bodyguard. Unless you were still among the unbelievers, Ashley Benson and Brandon Davis looked very much a couple. Dealer Loic Gouzer sat with his old pal DiCaprio, whose date looked much older than 25: his mom. It was, in fact, Leo’s mom’s birthday, and at one point, the servers wheeled over a candle-bedecked cake, all singing “Happy Birthday” to her, to Irmelin Indenbirken’s delight. The artist Hope Atherton held court at a table with Derek Blasberg and Gladstone president Max Falkenstein. Actor Jennifer Lawrence, who is married to Gladstone director Cooke Maroney, also snuggled into the booth.

After dinner, the collector Maria Bell and the dealer Thaddaeus Ropac asked if I wanted a ride to the Serpentine party, held at the Walmart heiress Sybil Robson Orr’s compound in the Bird Streets. Then I was in a black car winding its way through the streets and up the mountain that rises over the Sunset Strip. Upon arrival, about a thousand dealers and collectors and European hangers-on were carousing by the infinity pool.

“When I was the chair of MOCA, we spent so much time telling people that LA was the center of culture,” Bell told me as the Cadillac approached the long driveway, where golf carts would ferry us up to the house. “And now it really happened.”

The next morning, Frieze Los Angeles finally opened at the Santa Monica Airport, spanning both the Barker Hangar and a custom-built tent next to the Museum of Flying. It was both the culmination of the week but also of an art fair that is still competing for attention. Within the scrum of dealers manning already sold-out booths and advisers wheeling around their clients, a picture of the past, present, and future of LA art-collecting started to come into view.

Michael Ovitz, who bought so much in the 1990s he convinced Arne Glimcher to open a gallery out West, waltzed through the Hauser & Wirth booth, sunglasses on. With his thousands-deep trove of artworks, Ovitz is one of the city’s best collectors, even if sources have said he’s slowed down his buying in recent years. Shelli Azoff has been collecting for decades with her husband, the music exec Irving Azoff, and she said she bought a painting by Sayre Gomez at the Ghebaly booth—“it was a trophy, a real trophy,” she noted. Standing with her adviser, Meredith Darrow, Azoff casually mentioned that she also snapped up works by Yoshitomo Nara and Asuka Anastacia Ogawa. As the fair grew more packed by the minute, the old-school collectors started to pop up one by one: Susan and David Gersh, the Marciano brothers, Peter and Jill Kraus, Lynda Resnick, as well as Eli Broad’s widow, Edythe.

And there were the slightly younger collectors. Emanuel came early, bought a brilliant painting by Bob Thompson at the Michael Rosenfeld booth, and then strolled toward the exit hand in hand with his wife, Sarah Staudinger, stopping to say hello to Studio Museum director Thelma Golden. Many sources said that Tyler, the Creator, has become an ubiquitous figure on the scene in LA, and he spent much of the preview chopping it up with Chase Hall in the Kordansky booth. Paltrow, who stepped up her involvement with the fair by hosting the Frieze kickoff, walked the aisle between Gagosian and David Zwirner with an adviser in tow. J. Patrick Collins, the young oil and gas executive who’s mostly based in Dallas and is often cited as one of the more ambitious young collectors anywhere, was spotted in the Zwirner booth as well. Richelieu Dennis, the CEO of Sundial and mentee of private equity billionaire Robert Smith, was spotted stalking the aisles. And while we have disturbingly few details about the collection of Bobby Flay, god of food, he was certainly spotted at the roti stand outside the fair.

Who’s set to claim Broad’s spot as the king of LA collectors? It’s unclear, but as New York dealer James Fuentes noted as we watched collectors weave in and out of his great booth of work by Thornton Dial, Los Angeles is changing rapidly. He’s set to open a space here in March, right around the time that David Zwirner will open across the street. Lisson Gallery is set to open in April. Other galleries from Europe, Asia, and New York are said to be opening in the coming months.

“By May,” Fuentes said. “Things will be totally different.”

The Rundown

Your crib sheet for comings and goings in the art world this week and beyond…

…Perhaps the most ubiquitous celeb of the week was the Butterscotch Stallion himself, Owen Wilson. In addition to hanging with Chance the Rapper at the Getty party, Wilson was spotted at the fair, where he was overheard discussing the impact that his mother, the photographer Laura Cunningham Wilson, had on his love for art. A former assistant to Richard Avedon, Wilson’s mom went on to photograph fellow Texans in their natural habitats, and published a book on Watt Matthews, the dean of Texas cattlemen who spent nearly all of his 98 years on the historic Lambshead Ranch—apart from the four years he spent as an undergraduate at Princeton. She also shot Donald Judd in Marfa, leading Owen to obsess over Judd’s work himself. After the fair, Wilson stopped by the party that Karma and Parker Gallery threw at the Venice Beach redoubt Tasting Kitchen. Upon seeing him, the Texas-born-and-bred artist Will Boone remarked that the actor had come by for studio visits. Though perhaps the Wedding Crashers star has professional reasons for embedding in the art world this week: Wilson is starring as a version of the legendary artist and TV personality Bob Ross in an upcoming film called Paint.

Princess Eugenie was spotted at Frieze, though not as some kind of royal family tourist looking to hang with collectors. She works for Hauser & Wirth in London, and the gallery had a very big presence in LA this week, as we’ve noted. In addition to swinging by the Getty Villa bash Monday, Eugenie was leading clients through works by Charles Gaines and Mark Bradford at the Hauser & Wirth booth during the VIP opening Thursday. And while it’s possible she might take a trip up to Montecito to see her cousin Harry, his wife, Meghan, and the kids, well, there’s a lot of work to be done if you work at Hauser & Wirth during Frieze Los Angeles.

…Various figures have been trying to locate Kanye West for weeks—his former lawyers even planned to take out ads in local LA newspapers to do so. Well, all they had to do was wait for an art fair to arrive in town! Sources say that West and his rumored wife, Bianca Censori, showed up to the roof at the West Hollywood Edition just as the blockchain transaction service Fairchain was throwing its annual Frieze LA bash in the same spot. It’s unclear if he plans to stop by the fair, or any museums or galleries.

…Oh, and what about Nicolas Berggruen, a potential future king of LA collectors? He was certainly around town, spotted not only at the fair but also at Sybil Robson Orr’s house Wednesday for that Serpentine throwdown under the Turrell. On Thursday, he stopped by the Beverly Hills Hotel for an opening of a show of photos by the great Jean Pigozzi, who famously invested in Apple in the early ’80s because his buddy Steve Jobs asked him to. What a life! At the bash, Berggruen was spotted hanging out with fellow tech-adjacent billionaire Mark Pincus, the founder of Zynga.

And that’s a wrap on this week’s True Colors! Like what you’re seeing? Hate what you’re reading? Have a tip? Drop me a line at


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The Thief Collector review – the ordinary married couple behind a massive art heist – The Guardian



It was a brazen case of daylight robbery. In 1985, a couple walked into an art gallery on the campus of the University of Arizona and left 15 minutes later with a rolled-up Willem de Kooning shoved up the man’s jacket. In 2017, the painting was finally recovered – not by the FBI, but by a trio of house clearance guys in New Mexico. It had been hanging for 30 years on the bedroom wall of retired teachers Rita and Jerry Alter.

How an ordinary couple like the Alters pulled off one of the biggest art heists of the 20th century is told in this mostly entertaining documentary. You can imagine the story being turned into a podcast and it’s perhaps stretched a little thin for a full-length documentary. (Did we really need an interview with the couple’s nephew’s son?) The weak link is the film’s dramatisation of the theft: a tongue-in-cheek pastiche that feels a bit glib as questions about the Alters’ motivations deepen and darken. Still, the film offers a fascinating glimpse into the mystery of other people, especially other people’s marriages. Friends and family still look dazed that the Alters – Rita and Jerry! – were behind the theft.

The unlikely heroes of the story are a trio of honest-as-they-come house clearance men who bought the De Kooning along with the contents of Jerry and Rita’s house after they died. When a customer offered them $200,000 for the painting, they did a bit of Googling; after realising it could be the missing artwork (Woman-Ochre, now worth around $160m), they were straight on the phone to the gallery in Arizona to return it, with no question of making a dime for themselves.


The three men are brilliant interviewees, warm and thoroughly decent; their experience in rooting through other people’s homes and lives has clearly given them the kind of insight that would make them great detectives, too. And if nothing else, this documentary ought to give someone working in television the idea of making a detective series about house clearance experts.

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The Art of Gardening — New Patio Plants – CFJC Today Kamloops




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Is AI art the new frontier or just another way to rip artists off? Watch episode 1 of digi-Art now –



AI: Artificial Intelligence

2 days ago

Duration 14:15


Artificial Intelligence: it thinks like us, writes like us – but can it create art like us? Dive into the latest buzz to unpack if AI is a helpful collaborator or just thieving competition.

CBC Arts’ new series digi-Art looks to the horizon to see what’s possible with tech and art — charting a course led by creatives and innovators towards new worlds and ways of creating.

The infinite monkey theorem posits that if a countless number of monkeys were assembled in front of a limitless number of typewriters, they would eventually create writing as revered and dense as the works of William Shakespeare. 

The theorem feels unimaginable and creative works are so often seen as intentional — great writing and designs can’t just be shaped from nothing. But recent trends in AI seem set to transform how the creation of art is viewed in culture. 

AI art has been all over the Internet, and even winning awards, and it’s leading some visual artists to worry about their roles in the future. 

Text-to-image systems, like DALL-E 2, have been enabling anyone to create striking visual works with just a few words. People can now truly create something from almost nothing. But, this process isn’t as random as it seems.

Dr. Alexis Morris is the tier two research chair in the Internet of Things at OCAD University. He told digi-Art host Taelor Lewis-Joseph about a process called “classification” — the process by which a machine can turn language to a thing, and then ultimately an image. 

An AI generated image of cats in "cyberpunk" outfits in neon convenience stores buying milk.
AI generated art from Dall-E using the prompt “cyberpunk cats in cyberpunk hats buying milk in a punk store” from Episode 1 of digi-Art. (CBC Arts)

“You show the machine an image of a cat, but it doesn’t know what a cat is,” Morris says. “You give it lots of pictures of cats and after a time, it starts to learn that cats are often a little fuzzy and have pointed ears.” 

“As you give it more and more pictures, the machine figures out more and more features.” 

Through being exposed to countless images, AI can begin to generate sometimes startlingly realistic images from almost nothing.

Intelligence stealing art

While AI technology is groundbreaking, not all creatives are excited by its prospects in the art world. 

Mark Gagne is a multimedia artist and head of Mindmelt Studio. He’s no stranger to using technology in his art — Gagne will often mix together illustrations and photography in his pieces.

But he has grown frustrated with what he views as AI’s continued encroachment on original pieces of art. 

“These AI programs are scraping artwork off the internet, including my own, and Frankensteining them into a piece of artwork,” Gagne says. “It really upset me that I was one of those artists that got scraped up by the AI apps.”

Two pieces of art of imaginary creatures. On the left a creature with horns looks at a cartoon snail. On the right a smiling blue mushroom is surrounded by two smaller smiling horned creatures.
Non-AI artwork made by Mark Gagne from his ‘Guardian Sprites’ series. Gagne has had his art style unknowingly used in AI algorithms. (Mark Gagne)

Gagne’s frustration with AI platforms has been increased by the fact that he considers his work to be very personal to him. His work often explores topics like mental health. 

“People … [identified] with the imagery that I was putting out and it really opened dialogue with a lot of people,” he says. “They found that my art page was a safe space for them to express that.” 

What started as personal expression has now been “regurgitated” by AI platforms, Gagne argues. “It’s kind of like when somebody breaks into your home and takes off with your television or your PlayStation or something,” he says.

“I mean, the technology’s amazing, but what’s wrong with these companies coming to the artists and saying, ‘We’d like to work with you?'”

Taking advantage of AI

While some artists are worried about AI, some are embracing it. Waxhead is an artist who began in a more analogue medium — street art. 

But now, Waxhead said that AI is taking an active role in his creations. In fact, AI has helped to inform the art he creates in the physical world. 

“I’m using AI in a wide variety of ways as a tool to create seamless textures for 3D models, to create reference material for my murals, to create references for paintings,” he says. “It just allowed me to be creative and to learn and renew a love for learning.”

Waxhead’s experiments with AI have allowed him to manipulate some of his favourite styles of art. He says that AI allows styles of art to be reiterated. 

“I’m starting to build models that are referencing my art, so I’m using hundreds and hundreds of photographs of years and years and years of my work to make something that’s my style, that’s Waxhead, but also created by AI,” he says. 

While he acknowledges the problems other artists have had with their art being scooped up by AI platforms, he also thinks that this cycle is reflective of art more broadly. 

“I think humans have always used other artwork as references and we’re all taking our inspirations from somewhere,” he says. 

“Things are changing extremely fast … I’m excited about the future, using AI, using text prompts. What concerns me is who controls these models.” 

“I think more open-source AI models that are controlled by the public, in terms of art and creativity, are gonna have vastly more amazing applications in general.”

CBC Arts’ new series digi-Art looks to the horizon to see what’s possible with tech and art — charting a course led by creatives and innovators towards new worlds and ways of creating.

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