It’s been quite a while since our last competition. Robotics have made incredible strides, and art has has flourished in myriad new directions. Artificial Intelligence has shifted from a sci-fi antagonist to a practical tool accessible even to our grandparents! This year, alongside celebrating your robotics expertise and creative flair, we’ve introduced a new award category honoring the most innovative use of AI!

Read more about robot art (useful for journalists/press.)


  • Foster innovations in AI, image processing, and robotics
  • Challenge teams to push their technical skills and creativities
  • Integrate aesthetics and technology
  • Spark public interests in robotics and art

Why Painting?

One of the first signs of human culture was our ability to express ourselves with images. From ancient cave paintings to abstract art, physically generated images have been a universal way for humans to express and communicate. Beyond simply replicating what is seen, artistically created paintings enable meaning in the way it’s created – what elements are left out, how color is used to heighten emotion, even the thickness or boldness of the application of paint has meaning.

The skills required to effectively paint are intrinsically human – graceful movement, sense of touch and pressure, ability to experience color and value.

  • The competition is open to everyone. Please read the prize payment information below.
  • Each team can submit up to six distinct art works in each of the categories.
  • Paint/color must be applied with one or more physical brushes by a robotic system.  Work done by an ink-jet-like matrix printer will not qualify.
  • The type of robots used is flexible (arm, swarm, drone, roomba, etc)
  • Up to 8 different manually premixed colors of your choice can be used. These colors can be furthered mixed by the robots in an intermediate stage (e.g., on a pallete.)
  • If an existing artwork (e.g., Mona Lisa) is used as a basis of your work, a photo of that artwork must be uploaded and referenced in your submissions.
  • There is no time limit for creating each painting.
  • We reserve the rights to make minor adjustments to these rules at anytime to preserve the goals of the contest.

    Each artwork can be entered in one of these three categories:

    Original Artwork

    Artwork where no specific reference images or materials are used.

    Re-interpreted Artwork

    Artwork that is painted using a reference image such as a photo or an image of famous artworks.

    Standard Painting

    Artwork that uses this image as its reference material. The goal is to compete on painting techniques and algorithms.

    In addition, every team is eligible for the Artificial Intelligence category if supporting materials are provided.

    Artificial Intelligence Application

    Artwork that makes the most creative uses of AI. Note this is not about AI-generated images.


    Each team can submit up to six artworks in each of the four categories. As the judging of the contest is entirely online, we require teams to upload their artworks and supporting materials. For each artwork, the team must upload:

    • Photo of final painting
    • Several photos of painting in progress
    • Link to a video or playlist of painting in progress, videos may be sped-up or time-lapse
    • Several photos of team & robotic system
    • Photo reference of any prior artwork used
    • For your team to be considered for the AI category, please provide a write up and links to supporting materials (e.g., videos, github, publications, etc.)
    • (Optional) Short write up on how it was painted (1-3 pages). Ideally, you would disclose the technical contributions of your work so that others can learn.
    • (Optional but encouraged) Link to code repository.  Sharing tools and techniques is key to the growth of robot-involved art.

    The winners must ship 1-3 pieces of their artworks to Seattle for an art show before receiving prize money/donations.  We are requiring this to ensure a solid gallery show after the competition in 2025.  There is no requirement to sell the artwork and they will be returned to you after the show if you choose.  We would also like you to consider coming to the gallery show and showcase your painting robot (e.g., live demo).

    Note: By entering the competition, teams agree that their artworks can be used for non-commercial promotion of this contest (e.g., journalistic review).  Copyright belongs to the team.


    Winners are based on a combination of public (40%) and professional (60%) judges.

    Public: anyone with a Facebook account can vote on their favorite artwork based on:

    • overall originality and aesthetics of artwork (e.g., do you like the painting, impressed with the skill of the “painter”) [100%]

    Voters get 20 tokens which they can give to any combination of artworks they choose.  At the end of the competition, we simply add up all the tokens for each team in each category.  This way, teams are encouraged to submit as many different types of paintings for each category as possible.

    Several professional art critics judge the artwork based on:

    • overall originality and aesthetics of artwork (e.g., do you like the painting) [25%]
    • “painterly” ability (e.g., use of layers, energy/subtleness, blending) [50%]
    • technical contribution (e.g., shared source code or algorithms) [25%]

    The judges will consider either all the works done by a team… or even a single artwork.  It’s their choice.  Teams are not penalized for having an assortment of different types of paintings (e.g., it’s also ok to upload a few paintings of varied quality to help people show progress.  Just relax!).  We will also factor in how the painting process aligns with the spirit of the contest.  That is, artwork that are created by an articulated robot with a brush and paint will be scored


    $25000 is awarded in each of the categories:

    1. Original Artwork
    2. Re-interpreted Artwork
    3. Standard Painting
    4. Artificial Intelligence

    With five winners in each category:

    1st – $10,000
    2nd – $6,000
    3rd – $4,000
    4th – $3,000
    5th – $2,000

    Each team may submit works for the first three categories, and may win one prize in each. All teams will be considered for the AI category.

    A special prize of $5000 may be awarded to a team as a top technical contributor. Judging will be based on the teams’ ability to share technical skills and software with the community.

    Important Notes on the Prizes

    Winning teams must mail in at least one of their winning artworks to receive their prizes. The artworks will be featured in an exhibition in Seattle and will be returned to the teams afterwards.

    The awards and the competition is sponsored by Mr. Andrew Conru’s nonprofit foundation. As such, the majority of the prize money must go to US-based nonprofits or schools. The prize money will be distributed as follows:

    Team from a US school or nonprofit 80% goes to the school or nonprofit, 20% to the team members directly.

    Team from schools outside of the US 20% goes to the school, 70% goes to a US-based nonprofit of the team’s choice, 10% goes to the team members.

    Team unaffiliated with a school 80% goes to a US-based nonprofit of the team’s choice, 20% goes to the team members directly.


    Aug 1st 2024 – Team registration begins

    Oct 1st 2024 – Teams can start uploading their artworks

    Feb 1st 2025 – Team registration deadline

    Apr 1st 2025 (midnight PST) – deadline for content upload. Teams are strongly encouraged to upload their artworks early to make sure all supporting materials are submitted.

    Apr 1st to May 1st 2025 – public voting and professional judging

    May 10th 2025 – winners announced

    Summer 2025 – exhibition in Seattle

    Suggested Size and Materials

    We encourage artwork to be painted in standard sized canvases to facilitate showing them in the exhibition (for shipping and framing.) Common frame sizes are:

    • 4″ x 6″
    • 5″ x 7″
    • 8″ x 10″
    • 9″ x 12″
    • 11″ x 14″
    • 12″ x 16″
    • 18″ x 24″
    • 20″ x 24″
    • 24″ x 36″
    • 30″ x 40″
    • 36″ x 48″

    If possible, please choose pre-stretched frames such as these. Alternatively and economically, you can use art panels.