The estate of M.C. Escher may have just lost its lucrative stranglehold on the student poster market thanks to artist Chris Rodley, who used a deep learning algorithm to merge a book of dinosaurs with a book of flower paintings. The results are magnificent, and deserve a spot on the walls of our finest art galleries.
This isn’t the first time Rodley has dabbled with a deep learning A.I. to create art. Using a website called Deepart.io, which is powered by an algorithm developed by Leon Gatys and a team from the University of Tübingen in Germany, Rodley previously merged a Trump family photo and various Muppet characters, with nightmarish results.
The Deepart.io algorithm differs from what Google’s Deep Dream does by applying features of an artist’s visual style to another image, preserving recognisable details and features and using them to rebuild the target image from scratch.
The flowered dinosaurs are arguably Rodley’s most striking example of this algorithm at work, but merging still-life paintings of fruits and vegetables with dinosaurs also works remarkably well, creating a collection of prehistoric beasts that look like they belong on a poster designed to promote healthy eating habits to children.
Not all of Rodley’s deep learning experiments produce masterpieces, however. These dinosaurs merged with tall ships really only work when the sails recreate the series of armoured plates that run down a stegosaurus’ spine. Otherwise, the dinosaurs aren’t easily recognisable here.
Merging dinosaurs and drawings of random staircases? The results genuinely look like they were torn from the sketchbook of M.C. Escher during an undocumented prehistoric phase, with impossibly aligned flights of stairs that appear to lead in all directions, but no where in particular. Another strong contender for dorm room walls across the country.
And we all know dinosaurs once ruled the earth, but what if the beasts were alive today and only ruled England? Dinos merged with crowns and other royal jewels work surprisingly well, and were a subject matter that renaissance artists clearly overlooked.
After originally posting some of these dinosaur images to Twitter, Rodley received countless DMs from people requesting high-res copies. So in response he’ll actually be turning some of his dinosaur masterpieces into prints that can be ordered from his website, even if you currently don’t live in a dorm room. [Chris Rodley]
Image courtesy Chris Rodley