The GOgh Train – Modern transit turned into digital masterpiece thanks to clever editing and love of puns

It’s a work of art that caused a buzz recently on Reddit. Here’s one transit fan’s artistic take on a GO train, in the style of Vincent van GO. We’re sorry, that should have read ‘Gogh’.

Sure, we don’t know a lot about art.

But including a tattoo idea we’ve never been brave enough to actually have inked, we know what we like.

So when we saw an image of a GO train, transformed into the painting style of Dutch master Vincent van Gogh, colour us critically impressed. So were fans on Reddit. Since recently posting his image to the site, the transit tribute has gained a good following.

Image shows GO train as if painted with a brush.
The Gogh Train, as seen through the editing and eyes of one transit fan. A bit of trivia – while a real Van Gogh can cost millions of dollars, using PRESTO for a journey on GO is a real value. (Supplied image)

This is how it came about.

Matt (who doesn’t want his last name used) was just watching a GO train pass by at the Bloor GO station when the idea came to him – why not pay tribute to Van Gogh by updating his brush strokes to include a journey on a modern GO Transit train.

“I don’t know many painters, but I can always recognize Van Gogh’s style,” says Matt. “I assumed that many others would as well.”

Creating the piece was surprisingly easy. The Toronto resident transformed a regular photo into something that looks like a painting.

He tinkered around with it before finding a style that resembled Van Gogh’s iconic work.

And yes, Matt did it to play on a pun.

The play on words with the ‘GO’ in GO train and the ‘Gogh’ – which is pronounced ‘go’ – was too great to pass up.

“When I made it, I was really satisfied with the pun and how the picture turned out so I knew that a few people would appreciate it,” says Matt. “I’m quite surprised that so many people enjoyed it. I’m happy about that.”

His critics are raving, and some are chiming in with some humorous responses.

One Redditor wrote “Behind the train is me doing The Scream as I miss my ride by five seconds. Awesome work!”

Another simply kept it brief.

“Dang, that’s beautiful!”

Matt says he likes the positivity the piece has generated. His favourite comment is from a Dutch Redditor who said they were confused until they remembered that ‘Gogh’ is pronounced ‘go’ with most English speakers.

“I did have a jolt of worry after posting the picture when I realized that people might think I actually painted it,” says Matt.

 “I made sure to clarify that it’s a digitally generated photo.”

Matt says it’s unlikely that he will be doing any other transit art in the future. Like Vincent van Gogh’s work, this piece is considered rare and one of a kind.

Though we have to add, it’s a rail moving piece of art.

Editor’s note – This story was edited on Sept. 30, 2020.

Story written by Nitish Bissonauth, Metrolinx bilingual spokesperson, media relations and issues specialist.