Now, this is a question i ask a lot. What is art? Nick, that's a little deep, don't you think? You ask yourself that a lot? Reporter: I do. If we got a child who cannot paint and told everybody that... See More
Now, this is a question i ask a lot. What is art? Nick, that's a little deep, don't you think? You ask yourself that a lot? Reporter: I do. If we got a child who cannot paint and told everybody that she is a child prodigy who can create masterpieces, would anyone fall for that? Meet 9-year-old sydney. Prolific artist and child prodigy she is not. Instead she's an actress we hired with zero artistic training. This is the first time I've ever painted on a canvas. Reporter: We brought our fake prodigy artist to this small studio in brooklyn and put a brush in her hand, parked her in front of a blank canvas and let her loose. I do not have any formal training. Reporter: Her first painting, wonka, was created from bright colors, drippy stuff and swirly things. Splatters! Phew! Reporter: Next up unicorn barf. With an emphasis on barf. You are going to die! Phew! Reporter: And finally another planet, otherwise known as drawing a circle around a cup. Amazing! Viola! Reporter: For the finishing touch, we took the letters from junior artist and turned them around into a made-up name. J.R. Strati. I have finished my masterpiece! Ta-da! Reporter: We took child's play and put it on gallery display. To get people to fall for it, we turned to a psychological phenomenon called social proof. Looking for cues from your surroundings to understand how to behave. Our job, create lots of social proof, that they were looking at fine art. I'm going to play the reporter for the european arts network and I am going to try to get people obviously then to just talk about the work. You are? I am the guest curator of this gallery. I am buck minester chuzlewit, the collector and patron. Reporter: I feel that's a bridge too far. My name is matt adams. Reporter: If we hung these pictures in an elementary school, they would look like an elementary school kid did them. We hung them in this gallery in soho. Context. Reporter: They look fabulous. Right, yeah, it looks legit. Context is king. I am still not sure about this jacket! Let's just all agree that we look good, good enough to fool unsuspecting soho denizens. Reporter: All right. I'm nick martinelli from the european art network and we are here in soho, new york city, won't eshg at the work of j.R. Strati, perhaps the latest artistic child projdy. Perhaps the best we have ever seen? What do you think? It's indicative of chaos in the world. I don't know how a 9-year-old would know what the world is like today, but it is very chaotic. She does have a real eye for composition. At her age, to be so unfettered by a hyper self-awareness. I think she's got her own fluidity with expression. That's rare. Couldn't have said it better myself. Reporter: Remember, she has absolutely no experience, so our "art collector" is creating hype by laying it on just a little thick. As you can see the veruca salt, and the violet beauregard, right? Oompa loompa, textural convergence, you know? Another planet, the telescoping. She is seeing into the cosmos. You know, the nothingness of the universe, right? And she is putting it all on the canvas. It's beautiful, it's just white canvas, it's very thought provoking. And the circle on the white canvas, now you are in some territory with rothko. Well I would find, actually this one to be the most interesting. Reporter: Really? To be honest with you. Probably because of the restraint. Reporter: She was telling me that it's a planet that our technology has only just allowed us to discover. And it's distant and it will come into great review as we evolve. My god. Reporter: There's falling for it, and then there's falling head over heels for it. This evokes the jackson pollock-esque, you know methods, techniques that he used. Random colors. Different colors of red, i think of difficult times, you know, frustration, you know. Reporter: You are quite ional. Yeah, you know, words can't describe how I feel about this painting. Reporter: How do you believe this can spring from the mind of a 9-year-old? Well, you know, 9-year-olds and young people see the world differently than older individuals. Confetti! I am seriously impressed by her just beautiful pieces of work. Reporter: With her artwork on display in this upscale gallery, they are buying our fake artist, but will they be buy her work? I would pay $26,000 for the white one with the circle on it. Yeah? If you have that kind of disposable. Yeah, that's a new york pricing. Reporter: Now it was time to introduce our phony artist to the public. Would they believe the hype? This is j.R. Strati, everyone. An I take your picture? Yeah, sure. J.R., Would you like to meet one of your fans here? Sure! Hi, I'm j.R. Hi! I am simina, it's nice to meet you. I am from canada. Hmm! That's where -- ink that's where justin bieber is from! Yes it is! Green is mike, he is the cowboy, and orange are the oompa loompas. ♪ Oompa loompa doopetity do I've got another puzzle for you ♪ Reporter: Puzzle solved! J.R. Strati doesn't exist, and it was time to let them in on our secret. Reporter: Guys -- I'm going to come clean. I'm not with the european art network. Young j.R. Here is actually an actress called sydney, with no previous artistic training whatsoever. This is the first time she's ever painted a painting. She is not an artistic prodigy. And you fell for it. Hook, line and sinker. Reporter: The fact this is in a new york gallery in soho, the fact that there are idiots like me wearing a stupid hat, you assume it's legit. You could probably only pull this off on mid-westerners. Reporter: He's from the midwest, but plenty of new york art connoisseurs also fell for it. What if I was to tell you that she is actually an actress who has never painted before? This is sydney. Hi. I love your dog! Reporter: But not everyone fell for it. You think she has talent? I mean I think she has ambition. I think she has ambition for sure, she's throwing paint inside her parent's house, who knows, you know? Getting the walls dirty. Reporter: What if I were to tell you she was a totally untrained 9-year-old that has never painted in her life and she is an actress and we made her do this for a tv show? It is possible too, man. And you guys are a tv show too? You guys -- I swear, this guy over there was too much man, this guy over there was like "the convergence" really, you know, really quite eccentric you know? Reporter: I knew that jacket was over the top! What are you drinking over there? Your little glass? No one else has that! Only you have that. Sparkling cider. Reporter: You didn't fall for it. You actually analyzed it for what it is. Yeah, I was kind of like, especially the questions you were asking, the accents were a bit too much. Reporter: This is my real accent! Hi! Nice to meet you. Hi. You are the actress who is doing this project? You are the big star over here? I love it. Reporter: We tried to create this scene to make people believe she's a good artist. What do you think makes people believe that? Context? Hype? Some idiot wearing a hat like me? Context. Reporter: The context does it? And idiots help. Coming up --
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