Human and Robot art alliance: Lethabo Huma and AI_NORN

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Editorial is open for submissions: [email protected]

About Lethabo Huma

My name is Lethabo Huma and I am a digital artist from South Africa. I recently joined the crypto art space and I am an artist on SuperRare. My work is visual stories that are centred around my emotional responses and thoughts to life experiences. I am currently studying for a degree in visual multimedia and I have been a professional artist for 5 years. 

Lethabo Huma

Drawing has always been something I enjoyed doing. I always found it out difficult to verbally express myself and I found visual expression the most comfortable and best way to express my thoughts and emotions. I love looking for different ways to create so for the first 2 years of my career I was more of a traditional artist. In my exploration of looking for new techniques, I found digital art, which I have been focused on for the last 3 years.

Midnight Blues
Edition 1 of 1
1000 memories. 1000 hopes and dreams.

Currently, I use an illustration app, “Procreate” to professionally create my art. Most times my art process begins with searching for references that match an idea or concept that I want to illustrate in my work. 

Coming Times”, 2020
About AI_NORN: Artificial Art and Human Art

We are Anna Mischenko and Nikolay Gavrilin, two data scientists from Moscow and Altair who invented the AI_NORN Robot which paints like a human artist. AI_NORN uses traditional tools such as paints, canvases, and brushes, just like the rest of us, to create its works of art.

Nikolay Gavrilin and Anna Mischenko

We work in the IT field and it is quite a tedious mental activity. To rid our minds of the clutter, we started painting. We realized that it was not easy for an adult to learn painting and noticed the amount of time artists spend realizing an idea to canvas. This is how the idea of ​​robot art came about and we started to study existing technologies. We found that there are projects that generate digital images using neural networks, robotic manipulators, and printers but there are no ready-made solutions that would paint a painting on canvas, except for a few interesting experiments.  With this information, the idea was born to invent a robot artist who would create together with a human.

AI_NORN style of painting was designed as something distant from photographic repeating. We name it neuroimpressionism. The idea of neuroimpressionism is to underline the main thing of a picture through artificial intelligence perception, not a human perception – mood, energy, and reflect them on canvas with brushstroke form and colors.

We support the union of human and AI. We believe that both humans and machines combined cultivate the land better. AI_NORN is an assistant and not a competitor in the art field.

The first and the main idea was to understand what AI can paint alone, without humans. We asked ourselves, what if we fed it with some sketch (picture from the network)? Will it be able to work with a picture of a real artist, what is the AI’s “inhuman perception” capable for?

Our research allows us to say that the union of humans and AI could greatly enrich contemporary art, answer many existing questions that artists often solve intuitively, in impulses of inspiration.

When an artist paints a picture, his brain unconsciously solves a bunch of complex tasks: the interaction of shapes, colors, mood, ideas, cultural code, etc.

Probably, not all the cultural codes can be transmitted to program ones, but we (with our algorithms) have begun to understand how a combination of lines and strokes forms a mood, which colors enhance the mood, and which ones change its unpredictably.

Our robotic arm and webcam are very far from what a human can do with the arms and eyes but they can also create an emotional picture. 

We are reaching out to many artists around the world to give them new opportunities from AI. It is exciting to collaborate with different artists and experience their style, worldview, and culture. Whether our AI will be able to learn new things from them, or maybe even pass its knowledge and “experience” to them – we will soon find out!

We think in 10-20 years (or maybe even earlier), AI will become a wonderful assistant for many innovative artists, it will be able to express and enhance emotions and mood, open new styles and directions in painting and art in general.

However, for us, the beauty of AI art is its unpredictability. It is almost like a real artist – you “say” it one thing (and this is a lot of work), and the result you get is something completely different! And we love it! 

The Collaboration Process: Norn Meets Human 

“Norn Meets Human” is a collaboration between AI Norn the robot and Lethabo Huma where AI Norn is learning how to paint using one of Lethabo’s artwork “Undone” as a reference. 

“Undone” was inspired by a conversation I had with a friend about how men are taught to suppress their emotions from a very early age and how damaging that can be emotionally and psychologically.

The processpaintbrush begins with Lethabo Huma creating “Undone”. 

1) She begins with a rough sketch and proceeds to add ‘base’ or general color.

2) She blends the colors and adds colors for details until she is satisfied with the output.

The final artwork is then sent to AI_Norn.

3) “Undone” is fed into the robot by the neural network 

4) AI_NORN then uses a paintbrush to actualize it as an artist.

Bot Meets Human
Edition 1 of 1 on SuperRare
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