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GANksy’s ‘00011111: Confession’
GANksy’s ‘00011111: Confession’Courtesy of

An AI bot has been taught to create surreal, Banksy-esque artworks

The images produced by GANksy are eerily reminiscent of the street artist’s work

Over the past year we’ve heard AI-generated music in the style of Kanye West, Tupac, and Nas, a lyrically nonsensical (but stylistically pretty believable) track based on the catalogue of Travis Scott, and a fake Nirvana song written by a computer. It’s not just musicians that are being tapped for inspiration by artificial intelligence though, as confirmed by a recent bot that’s learned to create drawings in the style of Banksy.

Named GANksy (after the machine learning framework, a generative adversarial network, on which it’s based) the software “was born into the cloud” in September 2020, as detailed in a statement on the creator’s website

The statement continues to explain that GANksy was trained using hundreds of images from the portfolio of a “certain street artist”. And though Banksy isn’t explicitly mentioned by name, it seems pretty clear from the title – plus the fact that the images are eerily reminiscent of his work – that he’s the artist in question.

That isn’t to say that there’s much risk of any more legal disputes or misidentified Banksys cropping up anytime soon, though. While the resemblance is undeniable (and, yes, uncanny) GANksy’s surreal drawings focus much less on the figures and messages seen in Banksy’s work, and more on the general form.

256 of GANksy’s works have been put up for sale as digital files signed by the “artist”, starting at £1 and increasing by £1 every time one is purchased. View the full selection on the Volewtf website.

As for the real Banksy, his parody of a Monet painting, Show Me the Monet – which adds shopping trolleys and traffic cones to the impressionist painter’s iconic garden scene – fetched more than £7.5m at auction earlier this week.