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Underpaid Chinese Artists Commissioned To Recreate Stock Photos Of "Artists" As Paintings

The best way to paint "A Contemporary Portrait of the Internet Artist?" Outsource imitations of stereotypical stock photos, of course.

Mature male artist working on canvas in studio, 2014. Images courtesy of IOCOSE

A Contemporary Portrait of the Internet Artist, takes the form of traditional canvas paintings commissioned from "underpaid Chinese painters." The new project from IOCOSE, the creators of Drone Selfies, features the art and design collective's hallmark sense of humor in the reflexive fact that each outsourced portrait replicates a copyrighted Getty image found within the search term ‘artist.’ Their process links a global network of both creativity and economics, beginning with Getty's creations of the original portraits, IOCOSE's copyright-skirting sourcing of these images, and the Chinese artists' commissioned and recreated paintings.


In their press release, IOCOSE states, "the chain involved practices that are quite common nowadays in the production of art: exploitation and outsourcing, exchanges of files and money transactions, sharing of skills and copyrighting. The portraits intend to reflect on the plurality of different modes of making art." The trail gets even more complex once the images of their paint and canvas portraits hit the Internet (where they now exist): "The digital images of the portraits will circulate online, be copied, posted and tweeted by journalists and bloggers. The portraits might be bought and become private property. But also continue being exhibited. And photographed." It's a fascinating cycle of creative production, one that may never have been possible without the development of the internet.

IOCOSE "thinks about the streets, internet and word of mouth as a battlefield," according to their self-written bio, a philosophy that leads its members to take on contemporary issues with a singular creative urgency. Now that they're done capturing the civilian selfies of military dronesA Contemporary Portrait of the Internet Artist can hover in their stead.

A Contemporary Portrait of the Internet Artist opens this Saturday, October 4, as part of the group exhibition Reality Check curated by Filippo Lorenzin at Spazio ULTRA in Udine, Italy. Become a part of the experience by checking out (and reblogging/sharing) images from the series below, or by visiting the exhibition and taking your own photos.


Young female artist painting on canvas at home, 2014

Artist in studio working on painting, 2014

Senior male artist, 2014

Woman drawing the oil painting on the beach, 2014

Visit the IOCOSE website for more critical creativity.


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