Check out Motherboard‘s interview with artist KATSU, who’s using drone technology to power his latest graffiti-art endeavors. He also plans to develop the quadcopter as open source technology!
His new project is not fake or hypothetical, though it does elevate his work to new heights. He has developed a system to attach a spray can to a quadcopter, creating the world’s first true graffiti drone. The drone is capable of spraying canvases or walls hundreds of feet high, granting the artist access to physical spaces that were previously inaccessible. At the Silicon Valley Contemporary art fair, which opens April 10, KATSU will show a series of canvasses that were created with his graffiti drone. The drone is capable of spraying canvases or walls hundreds of feet high, granting the artist access to physical spaces that were previously inaccessible. The video above, produced with The Hole NYC, his gallery, shows the drone in action.
Motherboard: What are you actually going to do with the drone?
KATSU: A lot of my work comes out of demonstrating and experimenting with different technologies for creative use. Basically, drones have lowered in cost enough that they are attainable, so I got my hands on some DJI Phantom 2s, and I have been experimenting with the idea of using drones to accomplish the same things that drones are beginning to be used for in broader society, but in this case for crime, vandalism, art. I really want to look into the way that a person and a drone could connect. I thought, ‘I could go out into the city and spray paint using a drone wherever I wanted to, in basically unreachable spots and in unusable areas.’
I also had a desire to make a series of paintings that would begin to express what happens when technology begins to collaborate in artistic creation and disruption. I started to collaborate with some developers and hardware people that I’m friends with, and we started working with Arduinos and 3-D printing, and basically raced to create this prototype remote sprayer that works with a drone. I attached a cradle with a spray paint can and other hardware to the drone. I created a series of paintings that are larger, about maybe 3 feet by 3 feet all the way up to 25 feet by 15 feet. Those served as this arena for experimentation, where I was testing out the system. And basically, I achieved the perfect air pressure, the perfect weight of the paint and the perfect materials so that the drone didn’t freak out when I attached these mechanisms to it.
Open-source technology is central to the drone hobbyist culture. Was that part of the allure for you, given your extensive background in creating open-source products?
I’ve never been interested in creating works to hold tightly and keep ownership of. I just have an uncontainable excitement for seeing magic happen in front of me, and I think that there’s nothing that I want more than to see people either react to this or find flaws in it or find ways to just really blow this concept up. It’s just sheer excitement about the possibilities.
Every Tuesday is Art Tuesday here at Adafruit! Today we celebrate artists and makers from around the world who are designing innovative and creative works using technology, science, electronics and more. You can start your own career as an artist today with Adafruit’s conductive paints, art-related electronics kits, LEDs, wearables, 3D printers and more! Make your most imaginative designs come to life with our helpful tutorials from the Adafruit Learning System. And don’t forget to check in every Art Tuesday for more artistic inspiration here on the Adafruit Blog!