PS2 boys, Byron Spencer

Making AI Art Out of Thirst Trap DMs

"It’s Like Pokémon Meets Playboy"
Arielle Richards
Melbourne, AU

While the AI realm reeks of demonic intentions, sinister fuckery and severely bad implications for our society, inside it, a Sydney artist has found space to play. 

Multidisciplinary artist and musician Byron Spencer has lately been debuting what he calls his “PS2 Boys” series: 8-bit thirst traps of some of the internet’s favourite hotties. Using the PS2 AI filter, Spencer mutated half-nude or sometimes nude selfies sent over DM into quirked-up uber-hunks radiating salacious intent, before slowly drip-feeding them to a salivating pack of queers via a daily Instagram Stories horniness digest. And the people are gobbling it up.


Spencer said he’s dabbled with AI and filters for some time. He loves “all that stuff”, he told VICE, all the “cute disguising” you can do on the internet. But, “it was nothing groundbreaking on my end.”

“It's just a kind of filter, but then a lot of people don't fully go down into that world of AI stuff yet or even know how to do it, even though it's quite easy,” he said. “I was like, oh, maybe it would be fun to start messaging hot boys that I know. I reached out to them from the beginning, got them involved, they started sharing them, and it just kind of steamrolled from there.”

On Spencer’s Instagram page, selects from the series hold permanent residence. Among the uber-jacked mystery men is a swathe of internet favourites and international blue checks. King of twinks Troye Sivan is there, his fierce gaze piercing even through the filter. Actor, musician, and hot boy icon Keiynan Lonsdale wears a Von Dutch cap. There’s artist Elliot Joseph Rentz, musician Lucky Love, a string of OnlyFans creators… it’s easy to get lost, thousands of tabs deep, in what is essentially a catalogue of the hottest boys online. 

“I think it's kind of like Pokémon meets Playboy,” Spencer told VICE. “We love to see ourselves and others online. And everyone becomes a character in your life now, because of the internet.”

Although a flipbook of shirtless thirst traps oozes lust, only some of the pictures are nudes – plump butts and bare dicks, the latter’s make-it-safe-for-Instagram pixelation consistently pearl-clutchingly long. 


“It's just hilarious, I’m always waking up to messages now. And sometimes I just wake up to dick pics. It's actually kind of amazing,” Spencer said.

Since beginning the series, Spencer said it’s now become a self-replicating cycle, and even… a community. The comments sections of PS2 Boys posts are filled with desperate pleas: “do me, do me!”, “me next”, “who is #6?” and “how do you do that?”. He said he hoped to bring the series to print, in an uncensored coffee table tome.




“Everyone is so thirsty,” Spencer told VICE. “The hilariousness is that there’s an element of bringing people together, or boys finding other boys on the internet or wanting to be seen by boys. I think a lot of people are coming now just to see another hot guy. 

“I’ve just been so intrigued. It reminds me of Grindr culture, apart from the meeting up. I think there's a lot of thrill in apps like Grindr and other apps in the sense of just exchanging photos. I think a lot of guys hop online to just share photos, for the thrill and rush, and it's kind of that energy on Instagram. There's a lot of people that I guess find it thrilling and a little bit horny – the process is kind of exciting for them.”

But, he said, “I find that the gay male community is probably at the peak of unapologetic exhibitionism on the internet.”

The project is about as explicit as you can be without getting banned on IG. They’re thirst traps, after all. But are nudes mandatory? 


“Some people either just go ahead and send me nudes. Some people ask, like, should I send a nude? I'm like, it's totally up to you. And some people have been coming back to me and wanting to send nudes because they’ve seen other people have done it. It's a little bit hilarious.”

Spencer’s interested in the number of people messaging him who don’t understand what’s happening – whether he’s actually communicating with his subjects, whether he has the uncensored versions, then, “people are like I need your login details immediately”, he said. 



“I love just the horniness of it all. People have been saying your stories are making me horny. It’s using the internet as a medium. Everything to do with it is internet inspired, including the fact that it's just a filter. 

“Because of AI, we're really going into hyper-surrealism in a way – never knowing what's real. So I'd rather lean into that being really fun, at least if people are feeling something from it in some way. I like people. I like emotional work, whether it's emotional or just funny and sexy.”

On whether AI can actually be used for good, Spencer said he thought it was “a really amazing conversation” at the moment, “in many different ways”.

“I keep on saying what did we expect? You know, what do we expect? The way society is built, and the way we function is so already technologically and media driven, in this robotic, non-human way.

“There's something interesting with AI because I think the bigger it gets, the more it makes us talk about what it is to be a human. We’ve kind of coasted along with film and technology. At least we're talking about humanity in a different way. 

“That's crazy, but it's also kind of exciting in a strange way.”

Arielle Richards is the multimedia reporter at VICE Australia, follow her on Instagram and TikTok.