Google Art Project inspires British artist’s blurry art series

A blurred image from Phil Thompson's "Copyrights."

British artist Phil Thompson took a page -- or screenshot -- from Google Art Project, which allows art fans views of prized paintings at museums from around the world.

Thompson’s series, called “Copyrights,” plays on Google’s images that must be blurred for legal reasons.

Making the pieces was part tech and part outsourcing. The artist told Wired he took screenshots of the hazy images and then sent them to Dafen Oil Painting Village, a Chinese company that creates made-to-order acrylic paintings.

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“I am really interested in glitches; the moments when things fail and reveal themselves,” Thompson explained.

The Google Art Project, which uses the same cameras as Google Street View, features images of more than 30,000 artworks from 40 countries in an online gallery.

The search engine blurs copyrighted images, like it blurs faces on Google Street View.

Thompson said that using the anonymous Chinese painters was a comment on the country’s censorship and relationship with the search giant.

“Obviously the paintings in the ‘Copyrights’ series are censored through the Art Project program itself,” Thompson said. “However, by getting the works painted in China, the aim was to reflect the censorship of Google itself within China.”


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