Dartco Meets PainterAI

TheDArtCo is a digital Art Factory and we are trying to add the digital medium to the other media our artists have been using for years throughout their pursuit. We try to exploit this medium at its best and, as you can see from our site, we are really fascinated by AI. We have been looking for an artificial intelligence artist that could be something more than an intern of an artist, replicating the style of the original master in novel artworks. We wanted a “real” AI artist that was able to do new art by itself.

One day on our Twitter we received a very intriguing message and we met PainterAI, the artistic alias of Tom Embleton.

We were immediately struck by the quality of his artworks and when he stated that the artist was an Artificial Intelligence machine created by himself, we understood that he had really achieved a level in this specific digital art that we had never seen before. We are familiar with this topic, we know Playform and Obvious Art, among the others, and we can say that the quality of PainterAI is even more advanced, and you will soon be able to judge this by yourself.

TheDArtCo: Something about yourself, Tom. Scottish, engineer, now in South Korea…

Tom: As a Chemical engineer, I am in South Korea for my researches in the energy systems and in the six months of lockdown, during the virus pandemic, I started writing the code of my artificial intelligence artist: it is a complicated task and took me more than one month working almost full time.

TheDArtCo:  Are you also an artist in your personal life or only the “father” of PainterAI?

Tom: I am not an Artist, I tried that when I was very young. I have inherited this interest from my mother‘s love for art.

Dartco: What is your philosophy?

Tom: Exploring tech, to see how far it could go. I wanted to see if AI could really create something autonomous in the art-world. Today there is a lot of hype about the possibilities of Artificial Intelligence and the possible impacts it can have on our society. Many people are scared by this possible development and I decided to create this as an artistic project trying to connect people and make them feel at ease about the possible interactions between the machine and human beings. I wanted to see if the AI could directly connect with humans through an almost exclusively human medium such as art.

TheDArtCo: What kind of technology is PainterAI using? We hear a lot about Gan algorithms, when it comes to A.I. is PainterAI using GAN as well? How long did it take to code PainterAI?

Tom: Yes, it is GAN algorithm. It took me more than four weeks working consistently to create it. Then, making it work is also very complicated. The most efficient way to train the program is using RunwayML, a very powerful platform that you can use to run your AI program. Using my own PC, it takes 10 days to have a single artwork!  It is all very new here, and programming the GAN is very complicated. Nvidia released GAN in 2018 and the open source platform in 2019. All this is very new so I had to learn from scratch.

TheDArtCo: You sent us a video showing how PainterAI is generating new artworks: can you go into more detail?

How PainterAI works

Tom: I feed the algorithm with 5,000 images. I take them from many public sources, Wiki Art for example is one of them, and check as much as possible that they are only paintings, no sculptures and no photos. I don’t select the images following some kind of logic (style of the images, I mean only cubist images, impressionists, or old masters…). I add a lot of images without selecting them. So, I let PainterAI free to express itself at his best. Thanks to RunwayML, PainterAI is able to elaborate 5,000 images really fast and create new artworks all by himself with absolutely no human intervention.

TheDArtCo: The code is of course your secret, being the brain of PainterAI, I don’t want any detail about it and I will focus on its production. Is it correct to say that the process takes a long time? You show in the video that the process repeats every Friday. How many artworks can PainterAI generate?

Tom: Using the calculation power of RunwayML I could literally flood the world with images created by PainterAI! In order to follow a correct path for this project, I created a set of rules. As I said, I feed the algorithm with 5,000 images and PainterAI will come back almost instantly generating five hundred unique artworks. Those images are stored in a locked file that no one can see, not even myself. It is a totally blind process. After this, I run another proprietary program in Python to select only one image out of the five hundred and increase the resolution to 4k. The other artworks are destroyed by the software. The project is about doing this creative process only once a week. So, in one year, PainterAI will be producing only 52 artworks. Sometimes I get curious about the 500 artworks and the 499 that I will never see, but, in my opinion, this adds a lot of value to the work of Painter AI and I feel that the random process of choosing one artwork only at a time has some kind of magic.

This last part in TheDArtCo’s opinion is brilliant: not only do we have an artificial intelligence so smart and capable to produce artworks that are really beautiful, but Tom was also able to combine a random process that has a lot to do with the gamification of the digital artworks and also keeping under control the possible inflation of the artworks of PainterAI to protect its value! This is a DeFi concept which we find absolutely amazing!

TheDArtCo: We would love to test Painter AI with sets of the images that Dartco’s Artists are generating. Will it be possible in the future to “hire” PainterAI for something like this?

Tom: Well if your artists can come with 5,000 paintings, why not? But I think that providing 5,000 images would be a lot for any physical artist…

The great news is this: PainterAI is going to be a TheDArtCo Artist very soon: we will have new great artworks generated by one of the most advanced and amazing software we have studied so far.

Welcome Painter AI, we can’t wait to see your artworks here!