Graffiti artist KATSU creates abstract paintings using drones with spray cans

Graffiti artist KATSU creates abstract paintings using drones with spray cans


By Jacob Kastrenakes

The prolific graffiti artist KATSU is presenting a series of paintings in San Jose later this week, but the paintings haven’t been made by hand — and KATSU didn’t even really have full control over what was created. The series is titled Drone Paintings, and as you may guess, they were created with remotely controlled drones. True to his roots though, the drones were armed with cans of spray paint, which KATSU used to create abstract works over blank canvases.

According to The Hole gallery, which will be hosting the works at the first Silicon Valley Contemporary art fair, KATSU spent several months experimenting with different weights of paint and different methods for activating the spray cans. Alongside the paintings, the gallery will show a video of how the works were made and the technology that KATSU used to create them. The full fair runs from April 10th through the 13th and includes a body of contemporary works, including video art, multimedia presentations, and digital installations.

KATSU apparently began work on the drones with the intention of programming them to write graffiti. In the end, it seems that their results became too imperfect: the force of their twirling propellers would whip the paint around, and the force of the paint would cause the drone to wobble as it attempted to stabilize itself. While that creates a decidedly abstract result, it was still created by KATSU’s hand — just a few steps removed and distinctly colored by the drone.