AI and the art world

June 26, 2019
The Next Rembrandt
“The Next Rembrandt” by ING Group is licensed under CC BY 2.0.
Replacing a broad range of human-led activities, the threat of artificial intelligence (AI) has been one of the most debated topics over recent years. And we’re now questioning the role of human creativity as a number of “AI artists” emerge.

How technology and art combine

The first piece of AI-generated art sold for nearly half a million dollars in 2018. There are now many innovative creations submerged with technology being designed and created across the world. We bring you some of our favorites below.


Rising Colourspace

Julian Adenauer and Michael Haas’ abstract painting on the wall of a Berlin gallery doesn’t seem to catch the eye at first, but over time this painting changes. A wall-climbing robot Vertwalker, armed with a paint pen and software program, is instructed to follow a certain pattern.
The Vertwalker is constantly overwriting its own work, cycling through eight colors as it glides up vertical walls for two to three hours at a time.


The Painting Fool

In 2013, Galerie Oberkampf held an exhibition in Paris. “The Painting Fool,” a computer program that only needs minimal direction came up with all the artwork and concepts using sourced material online.
It produced art that resonated with a human audience drawing on the fact that we experience so much of our lives through screens – from communicating via the web to using technology and apps in our everyday lives.


The Next Rembrandt

In 2016 the unveiling of “The Next Rembrandt” took place in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam. The 3D painting captured the attention of the art world as it emulated one of the greatest names in art history, Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn. The painting is the result of an extensive study of Rembrandt’s work (with the help of Microsoft). It was created through distilling the artistic DNA, analyzing pixel by pixel, to produce a digital version of the masterpiece.
“We examined the entire collection of Rembrandt’s work, studying the contents of his paintings pixel by pixel. To get this data, we analyzed a broad range of materials like high resolution 3D scans and digital files, which were upscaled by deep learning algorithms to maximize resolution and quality. This extensive database was then used as the foundation for creating The Next Rembrandt,” says Ron Augustus, Microsoft.


Portrait of Edmond de Belamy

The first ever original AI work of art to be sold at a New York auction house for US$ 432,500 was an uncanny algorithm rendering of an aristocratic gentlemen, “Portrait of Edmond de Belamy.”
The final artwork was produced using an algorithm to generate a new image from the 15,000 data sets from various periods it was being fed.


Fifty Sisters

Australian based, “Fifty Sisters,” is comprised of fifty 1m x 1m images of computer synthesized plant-forms. The artwork is algorithmically “grown” from computer code using artificial evolution and generative grammars. Each plant-like image is derived from elements of oil company logos. These plant forms are then encouraged to crossover, mutate and breed new species of digital plant forms – some of them being very distorted and unusual looking, while others still showcasing the structure and form of Mesozoic plants.
Visit the official website to watch a documentary video on how these artworks are created.


Looking to the future

While these are just some examples of works created using AI, the possibility that digital art could be the next major art movement is a reality that is slowly coming to form. Experts maintain that we have barely scratched the surface of its potential, and French painter Paul Delaroche’s declaration in 1839, “from this day on, painting is dead,” once again resonates in the art world.



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