“Ah, good taste! What a dreadful thing!” Pablo Picasso once exclaimed. “Taste is the enemy of creativeness.” Renowned as one of the most famous and iconoclastic artists of all time, Picasso’s work was all about turning our view of the world on its head (and, frequently, turning actual heads on their own heads). So how did the legendary Spanish painter end up as a TikTok meme?

It all began in January 2022, when TikTok user @itsreefa uploaded a striking clip. As he wanders down a grassy avenue, he stops by a puzzling sight: two people are coating a small car in tinfoil. One of them wears a bright purple dress, green boa and vivid orange wig; the other wears a rather more subdued red jumper and tracksuit bottoms.

Credit: @itsreefa

Behind the camera, @itsreefa asks, “What’s this?” Only the car’s wheels, windows and headlights remain visible, and the duo appear to be adding just a few finishing touches to their strange creation. After a moment’s hesitation, the figure in the brighter ensemble explains, “It’s an art project.” Before they can elaborate any further, @itsreefa responds warmly, “OK, I like it! Picasso. Yeah, datway.” He walks on confidently, to the artists’ surprised chuckles.

This simple interaction has blown up on TikTok over the past month, with over 6.5 million views. And the original audio that accompanies this charming moment has also taken off, spawning countless parodies and other artistically-minded commentaries. Among TikTok’s remixes of the clip are videos of misbehaving pets, messy apartments and awkward SnapChat interactions. All of them works of art!

Credit: @robynpridmore / @cosicustomz

One clip with 75,300 likes shows a child scribbling away on a kitchen floor with every felt tip colour under the sun. The audio gained further attention when @_thepaigepage (an actress and impressions star) recorded the famed words in the voice of Jennifer Aniston. Fashion and art TikTok stars have likewise taken up this remix with gusto, using @itsreefa’s words to celebrate paintings and outfit choices.

This audio clip perfectly combines enthusiasm and spontaneity, and is often used to show that great art can crop up in unexpected places. When used sincerely, it also helps to express confidence in your own tastes and opinions about art.

Credit: @itsreefa

Meanwhile, @itsreefa seems to be revelling in his newfound TikTok fame. As well as remixing his very own trend, he has created a line of merchandise with his beloved ad-libbed line. You can buy T-shirts, water bottles, mugs and hoodies from his range, marketed with the phrase, ‘It’s A Art Project, Picasso’.

And the saga of his original video continued when Reefa created a Part 2. In this clip, the tinfoil-covered car drives away. The figure in the orange wig (who has since been identified as Patrick Scullion/Rosa Tralee, an award-winning Irish artist) reclines in triumph on top of the vehicle. Meanwhile a girl in a tinfoil headpiece chases after the car, with plumes of green smoke in her wake. It’s all weird, but it’s all wholesome.