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BitPaintr: A Portrait Painting Robot With A Whole Lot Of Heart

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While most painters have probably assumed their line of work is safe from the technological take over — bitPaintr, a portrait painting robot, has proved them wrong. The robot has been designed by Pindar Van Arman, a technology artist, who over the last 10 years has designed a series of 5 artistically inclined robots. BitPaintr, the most recent of the group, uses a mixture of artificial intelligence as well as human direction in order to paint portraits with a brush on canvas. The machine gathers it’s source material from photographs that have been uploaded by it’s users. It then analyzes the photographs using value based algorithms and begins working on the painting. BitPaintr has made portraits of Gandhi, Einstein, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Martin Luther King Jr, just to name a few. Pindar Van Arman plans to use this mechanism to create a interactive exhibition. Within the exhibition, the robot will be present and at the disposal of the audience to upload their own photographs, giving anyone a chance to interact with bitPaintr and collaborate with it’s artificial intelligence. The robot has different styles ranging from 5 minute sketches to a 24 hour studies. Probably the most frightening thing is that upon first glance, there would be no way to tell these portraits were not done by a human. They have a sort of amateurish but, dare I say it, genuine quality. The process of building color through layers of tonality does not vary much from the technique used by many printmakers and graffiti artists. The, perhaps, most important question, (besides, can this machine think?) that it raises is, is all art, in a way, formulaic? Perhaps even the most artistically talented among us all do still, in a sense, have an algorithm to make their works of art. Perhaps creativity is not, well, as creative, as we think it is. (via HYPERALLERGIC)

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Joel Shapiro’s Gravity Defying Installation

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Interested in the floor, the wall, their flatness and the way his sculptures engage with both of them, artist Joel Shapiro’s installations and sculptures are dynamic and engaging.   Suspending sculptures at various points and angles throughout a space, Shapiro seeks to create a sense of movement that depends on the forms and their relationships to one another.  Though not site-specific, his installations are in direct dialogue with architecture.  Shapiro is compelled by what he refers to as that “capricious” moment where forms come together to become something else.

Born in Sunnyside, Queens to a physician and microbiologist Shapiro tried to follow his parents into science, but realized that he had to become an artist.  Of the need to make art he says, “You have to have some real drive and deep belief, a combination of ego and humility, so it’s difficult. You have to have some sense of self and have to have some doubting sense of self in order to externalize your interior, so it’s a peculiar combination of factors, at least in my case, that you sort of, in retrospect, allow. I’m always surprised that the work looks good!”

The extreme structural and architectural nature of Shapiro’s work, however, perhaps begs at that scientific inclination.  There is a precision to his abstraction that is challenging in the way it defies gravity and logic.  Catch his show currently up at LA Louver through January 14th.

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Design Month: Alessandro di Prisco

Alessandro di Prisco has created a number of beautiful design objects. His latest is Cubico, a multi-functional cube that can serve as a coffee table, magazine rack, stool or as just an objet d’art. Clever design is really all about marrying form and function in an intelligent and beautiful way.

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From Pop To The Pit: Photo Exhibition Chronicles The LA Music Scene In The 1980’s

Van Halen at the Forum. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Van Halen at the Forum, 1984. Photo credit: Paul Chinn.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Mötley Crüe rehearsal, 1983. Photo credit: Gary Leonard.

Anthony Kiedis and Flea. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Anthony Kiedis and Flea, 1989. Photo credit: James Ruebsamen

Dickies show. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Dickies show, 1989. Photo credit: Todd Everett

Southern California, thanks to its diverse landscape, has always enjoyed a wide variety of musical genres. Los Angeles in the 1980’s saw a kaleidoscope of tunes, and different beach communities, the Valley, South Central, the Inland Empire and East LA each had its own form of local music. Plus, since the late 60’s, a growing number of major record labels had/were setting up their headquarters there. Coupled with an abundance of clubs, Los Angeles become the epicenter of the music industry.

So, not surprisingly, major rock groups did very well in Los Angeles – devoted fans packed their venues. While the alternative scene got less coverage, the free press such as L.A. Weekly, the L.A. Reader, BAM, Rock City News, and Music Connection provided the recaps and nightly gigs around the town.

The Los Angeles Public Library (LAPL) culled from their Herald Examiner photo archive and worked with the Gary Leonard Collection, LAPL and Photo Friends to present From Pop to the Pit: LAPL Photo Collection Celebrates the Los Angeles Music Scene, 1978-1989. The images show the diversity of the decade as well as the different groups who had hit singles, infamous moments, and thrilled countless fans.

If you’re local to Los Angeles, stop by and see the exhibition at the LAPL History & Genealogy Department from January 8  to June 28, 2015. In addition, there’s a companion catalog available for purchase on Amazon.

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Studio Visit: Noah Becker

Noah Becker graciously allowed Beautiful/Decay into his Canadian studio to view his new body of work.   Becker is about to open a second studio in New York this September for the fall 2012-13 art season.  This is a correspondence studio visit, Beautiful/Decay requested the photos and they were provided by another photographer.  Although the paintings are clearly portraits, Noah describes his newest work as figurative instead of portraiture.   I recognize a few of the faces but generally the paintings aren’t obviously people we should know, and because they aren’t it follows that they can’t be portraits in the traditional meaning of a portrait of a specific person.  Noah presents us with a romantic vision of elegant people, people who are good at living!  Wish I was one of those, ha.  Some of the folks feel like 70s’ rock stars or maybe authors from the 30s’, and I think I recognize some of Velasquez’s Spanish Renaissance princes.  When asked Becker mentions “stillness and time frozen in a moment,” which is a way to talk about the strange nowness of consciousness, or possibly he’s saying the point of modern life is to be elegant in the absence of direction.  If you don’t know what you’re doing, you might as well do nothing with style.

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Michelle Reader

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London based artist Michelle Reader‘s work is influenced by environmental concerns, in particular the over consumption of resources.  Much of her sculptures are commissioned to promote the reuse and recycling of trash Reader also creates props, like the image above, for theater, events, and photo shoots.

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Give The Gift Of Art: 20% off B/D shop On Black Friday

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This Friday ALL items in the Beautiful/Decay shop will be 20% off. Our full-color, willd and trippy posters make for great gifts. Plus, we’ve added a second wave of posters to the store, so be sure to check out the whole selection—and get 20% storewide savings this Black Friday. (Trampling sold separately.)

 

 

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Clinton De Menezes’ Mini-migration Installations

People are on the move in the installations of Clinton De Menezes.  Large crowds of people seem to be trudging through a white field – a snowy plain or salt flat.  The exodus, though, plays out on the side of a wall.  The South African artist’s model migrations exhibit patience and attention to detail.  Each figure is hand painted before being placed and plastered to the wall.  De Menezes’ installations illustrate the personal and collective drama of human migration.  His work is clearly influence by the ever shifting and complex social landscape of the land of his birth.

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