Offbeat Video

By Jack Williams


This real-life ART2-D2 would give even the finest human artists a run for their money, as the robot painter makes incredible masterpieces using an array of artificial intelligence.

The CloudPainter was recently crowned the champion of the RobotArt Competition – an event that sees submissions of the greatest robot-created artworks across the globe, including 19 teams and more than 100 works.

PIC BY PINDAR VAN ARMAN / CATERS

Included in the array of works submitted by CloudPainter’s inventor, Pindar Van Arman, were the likes of portraits made with multiple neural networks, a variety of AI and feedback loops, as well as a reproduction of Cezanne’s Houses at L’Estaque, from 1880.

Winning the competition banked Pindar, 44, from Washington, DC, 40,000USD (30,000GBP).

When he first started working on his CloudPainter invention a number of years ago, the machine did little more than connected dots, Pindar said.

But, over time, the machine began to fill in shapes in a paint-by-numbers style, and later began to use artificial intelligence to create compositions, balance contrast, select color palettes, and use algorithms to independently work without Pindar’s influence.

PIC BY PINDAR VAN ARMAN / CATERS

The most important algorithm in the latest iteration of the CloudPainter is its feedback loops: The machine is constantly watching the progress of the paintings and making decisions based on how well or bad it is going.  

Pindar describes this technology as when an artist makes a mark, steps back, and analyzes the effects of the marks that have been made.

For many of the pieces in this year’s Robot Art Competition, not only did Pindar’s creations independently paint the artwork, they imagined the images they were creating; they no longer need a source image to be supplied.

PIC BY PINDAR VAN ARMAN / CATERS

The inventor said: “I like bringing the digital world into the actual world.  

“My art is about trying to understand creativity.  

“This project has made me realize that computational creativity is actually getting pretty close to ours and I think that sooner than we realise, it will catch up.  

“But when this happens, don’t expect a bunch of robot artists to just start creating art. 

PIC BY PINDAR VAN ARMAN / CATERS

“At its core, art is when one person tries to communicate something to another person regardless of medium.  

“Until a robot is a person, it really doesn’t have anything to communicate with other people. 

“But that doesn’t mean computers will not be able to create endless amounts of beautiful artifacts for us to enjoy aesthetically.”