CoCA Presents: Ray C. Freeman III's Automatic Painting


Art of the City Street Fest
Saturday, August 1, 2015
11:00am to 11:00pm
Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts
115 Prefontaine Pl Seattle, WA, 98104

Ray C. Freeman III will present a live demonstration of his autonomous painting robots, creating several works of art throughout the day, available for your purchase and enjoyment.

The title of this production is a reference to the term "Automatic Writing", said to be produced by a spiritual, occult, or subconscious agency rather than by the conscious intention of the writer:

"I have adopted the term somewhat loosely, as the evidence of spiritual or occult influences is slim, and while the process comes from my conscious mind, the results lack the 'intention' of most works of art. I program robots to make the paintings, but the programming is somewhat crude, resulting in a final product that is unpredictable, at least to some extent.

Some have argued that paintings made by robots cannot be called art, but I beg to differ. I look at this technology no differently than a photographer considers his camera, or a sculptor regards his chisel. These robots are my tools, not the artists.

I consider this presentation to contain three distinct art forms, each one dependent on the next. 

First, there is the design of the robots themselves. This includes their physical manifestation and thier programming. As kinetic sculptures, they have artistic value on their own merit. I created them to not only do a job, but be fun to watch. They have a physical presence even when they are not painting, so I designed them to be aesthetically pleasing. I also program them each differently, so that they will bring their own "personality" to the paintings. The development of these programs is part of the artistic endeavor of creating the robots.

Second, there is the act of painting, which I consider to be performance art. There is sort of a dance that goes on between me and the robots. I activate several of them simultaneously, on several 'canvases', and while they are painting autonomously, they require constant attention. Their 'palettes' don't hold much paint, so I have to constantly refill them. Also, they only paint with one color at a time, so I am in charge of that as well. Finally, although I have programmed them to see the edge of the canvas and not fall off, I have to be aware of the potential of them walking right off. When they get too close, I pick them up and put them back into the middle of the canvas. All of this keeps me pretty busy, and it entertains the crowd, especially when one explodes on the concrete below.

Finally, there are the paintings. While some would call these a collaboration between me and my robots, I take the position that since I created the robots, told them what to do, and assisted them during the actual painting process, I am the artist, not the robots. There is a very strong presence of the black background and the white border, derived from the need of the robots to be able to detect the edge, but this could have been accomplished in a number of ways. I made the decision to use this technique, so I am in control of that aspect as well.

If you want someone to sign your acquisition, it will be me, not the robots."



Art of the City Street Fest features live music on multiple stages, staged and impromptu performances, visual arts exhibitions, interactive installations, and live painting, over 25 open galleries, artist studios, and residential lofts, booths and activities by local arts organizations, food by local restaurants, and a Roof Deck Saloon. 

Tashiro Kaplan Artist Lofts. 115 Prefontaine Pl. S. Seattle 98104 11am-11pm

CoCA serves the Pacific Northwest as a catalyst and forum for the advancement, development, and understanding of Contemporary Art

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