This project was an outlet for expressing my general sense of horror and discontent for the current political climate in the United States. I tried to capture this disease with a series of computer generated art pieces — each one built by a neural network attempting to apply the artistic style of an emoji rendition of political figures.
I’ve been curious about design’s role in artificial intelligence and machine learning. It’s relatively easy to apply neural networks that have already been trained, and I figured I should try it out. I was inspired by the work of rapper and digital artist Yung Jake. In addition to a lot of great music videos and art pieces, he’s created a series of portraits created entirely out of the Apple Emoji set. He also created a web app to make this type of art: Emoji.ink.
I applied this aesthetic with a neural network trained to apply the art style from any given photo to another. The neural network code can be found here. These images are quite pixelated, since I ran the neural network locally and my graphics card could only handle a small resolution. They also take around four hours to generate, so I’ll be adding more as I find time to create them.
Each image was generated based on two other images. The first was my own shitty interpretation of the political figure using Young Jake’s Emoji.ink. The second was a candid picture of the politician.