From Amazon’s promise for drone deliveries to pocket drones on Kickstarter, drones are becoming more relevant and ubiquitous to contemporary society beyond military usage. The Hole, a contemporary art gallery in New York City featured a new use of drone technology by artist KATSU: a series of abstract paintings done by drones.
KATSU developed machinery that allows the robots to support a spray paint can and spray at command. The artist remotely controls the drones, though they have automatic mechanisms built into the infrastructure such as self-righting gyroscopes to combat the light recoil from the pressure of the paint spray. The resultant paintings demonstrate a conglomerate artistic effect of both the artist’s intent and the technical elements of spray paint by drones — a synthesis of human and technology.
The paintings are not only meant to be taken at face value, but rather intonate the effort and time in learning the mechanisms of drones and tailoring them for artistic purposes embedded in the final product. KATSU’s original intent for the drones was to program them for graffiti, to remove the graffiti artist from the site of the crime and therefore introduce a layer of safety to the illegal activity. By making his software Open Source, KATSU’s drone technology could easily become accessible to street artists around the world. The implications of his success in programming and creating these artsy drones are huge for the street art world, offering a means for graffiti painting without fear of running into the law.