AI Artist Pindar Van Arman’s Painting Robots Visit GTC 2020

by Lauren Finkle

Pindar Van Arman is a veritable triple threat — he can paint, he can program and he can program robots that paint.

Van Arman first started incorporating robots into his artistic method 15 years ago to save time. He coded a robot to paint the beginning stages of an art piece — like ”a printer that can pick up a brush” — to save time.

It wasn’t until Van Arman took part in the DARPA Grand Challenge, a prize competition for autonomous vehicles, that he was inspired to bring AI into his art.

Now, his robots are capable of creating artwork all on their own through the use of deep neural networks and feedback loops. Van Arman is never far away, though, sometimes pausing a robot to adjust its code and provide it some artistic guidance.

Van Arman’s work is on display in the AI Art Gallery at GTC 2020, and he’ll be giving conference attendees a virtual tour of his studio on Oct. 8 at 11 a.m. Pacific time.

Key Points From This Episode:

  • One of Van Arman’s most recent projects is artonomous, an artificially intelligent painting robot that is learning the subtleties of fine art. Anyone can submit their photo to be included in artonomous’ training set.
  • Van Arman predicts that AI will become even more creative, independent of its human creator. He predicts that AI artists will learn to program a variety of coexisting networks that give AI a greater understanding of what defines art.


“I’m trying to understand myself better by exploring my own creativity — by trying to capture it in code, breaking it down and distilling it” — Pindar Van Arman [4:22]

“I’d say 50% of the paintings are completely autonomous, and 50% of the paintings are directed by me. 100% of them, though, are my art” — Pindar Van Arman [17:20]

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