Art History, AI, and Halloween Pumpkins

Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko Halloween Pumpkins


I’ve been making a lot of AI art lately, trying to see how I can test and push the capabilities of this technology, and thought with Halloween coming up tomorrow, I would see what it might do with some art historical names and pumpkins.

It’s interesting, if I entered a famous artist’s name and then “Halloween pumpkin,” the various artificial intelligence text-to-image apps would be focused enough on the keyword “Halloween” that it would create pumpkins with more-traditional Halloween designs and were therefore less focused on the artist’s name as part of the final image. But if I just put in the artist name and “pumpkin,” then I got some better results. Here’s what I got with “Salvador Dali pumpkin” and “Basquiat pumpkin.”

Salvador Dali and Jean-Michel Basquiat Halloween pumpkins
Halloween pumpkins featuring Salvador Dali and Jean-Michel Basquiat, courtesy of artificial intelligence.

I like these images, but was a little disappointed that artificial intelligence just “painted” images related to each artist on the pumpkin, as opposed to virtually “carving” anything into them. I kept trying different mixes of artist names and keywords, and came up with a Pablo Picasso Halloween pumpkin (below left) that I like. Even though it’s still a case of AI putting something on the surface of a pumpkin, at least it’s a painted representation of a Picasso-style art work, as opposed to depicting the actual artist, as the first two did. But I really wanted to see some AI art with a famous artist’s style carved into the pumpkin, and I did get one interesting result. Can you guess who the bottom right pumpkin is representing? It’s probably impossible to guess without me telling you, but take a look and try to guess before I give away the answer below.

Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko Halloween Pumpkins
AI art featuring Pablo Picasso and Mark Rothko Halloween Pumpkins.

Three rectangular cuts into the pumpkin – what is that about? It’s a Mark Rothko Halloween pumpkin! Do you get it? My guess is that the artificial intelligence is trying to reference a Rothko that has three floating rectangles, such as “White Center (Yellow, Pinkand Lavender on Rose),” or “No. 16,” or any other number of Rothko paintings with three rectangles. Even though the visual reference is obscure, I love that the artificial intelligence art generator thought to carve out these shapes as their interpretation of Mark Rothko’s art.

Just for fun, check out my “Artistic Halloween Pumpkin Game” here and see if you can identify famous artists in some of my own creations – and what I mean by that is that the images in that linked game were made by me using Photoshop and not artificial intelligence.

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