Friday May 19, 2017
more stories from this episode
Ollie Gibbs and his girlfriend were walking around the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam last week, when they noticed a common theme among the portraits and sculptures,
“They all look miserable,” the British designer and illustrator told As It Happens host Carol Off.
“You imagine you’d been sitting there for, I don’t now, five hours, waiting for someone to paint you, you’re not gonna look particularly happy. So imagine yourself in that situation, you’ll probably recognize that face.”
Then his girlfriend mentioned that she had FaceApp on her phone — an app that transforms pictures of people’s faces by aging them or changing their expressions. So they started going around the museum and giving the miserable ladies and noblemen on display a little joie de vivre.
“They’re meant to be regal. They’ve got kind of an importance about them, which, of the time, is exactly what you’d expect. I guess when you’re so used to in this modern world, everything is kind of photoshopped, everything is a little bit false in a way,” Gibbs said.
“This is why these apps come out, to make everyone a bit happier than they are.”
But not every painting subject came out looking happy.
“Some of them are a little bit creepy. There’s one in particular,” Gibbs said.
“He’s got these two cherubs above him and he’s looking very miserable, but he’s got his hands out like he’s holding something … it’s all a bit odd in the first place, but when you add the FaceApp over the top, it has this proper big toothy grin, which gives him this creepy look.”
The pictures went viral on Twitter generating tens of thousands of shares.
“It’s been five or six days since I posted it and I’m still getting a lot of retweets and likes and it’s still getting shared a lot,” he said. “It’s been an interesting ride…