Joseph Nathan Cohen

Department of Sociology, CUNY Queens College, New York, NY

Ashcan School

Generating images in the style of the Ashcan School.

This post is an installment in the Generative AI Art Style series, a practical knowledge project designed to help content creators fine-tune the aesthetics of their generated images by references to and descriptions of popular art styles.  Click here to read more on the project.

This page depicts the results of mentioning the Ashcan School in your prompt. Click here to learn about this project

Click here for this visual art style’s Wikipedia page

Generated Thick Descriptor (via Chat-GPT 4): Ashcan School art is characterized by rough, realistic depictions of everyday urban life, often featuring the working-class and poor neighborhoods in New York City. The artists employed a darker palette to portray harsh moments of modern life, including scenes of poverty, crowded tenements, and bustling street scenes. To capture this style, aim to convey a journalistic realism in your work, showcasing everyday scenes with raw, robust, and grounded tones. Use dark or muted colors, and focus on detail to emphasize the gritty realities of life.

The table below depicts New York City’s Times Square and Northern Ontario’s Lake Kenogamissi. The left column shows the results of a “thin” prompt, in which the style was requested in name only. The right column shows the results of a “thick” prompt, in which the generated prompt was used.

Times Square

To see these images in higher definition, open it in its own tab or download it locally.

These images show what Generative AI renders when one requests that an image be rendered in well-known art styles. This series does not purport to describe major art styles as understood in the art scholarship community. If you have expertise in art and want to explain why these images do or do not capture the essence of these fields, then please do so in the comments section below.