Picture of Seeing a Robot Going Down a Staircase

Bay Area Actor Agnieszka Pilat began her career as a classical painter and illustrator, spending her days away in a photo painting studio. From Poland, he struggled to enter the San Francisco art competition: Galleries were not interested in his work and he felt he was alienated, until a local art collector approached him with a suggestion. She was not interested in the ballerinas she always painted, but liked her expressive style of painting. He renovated buildings by day, and often hid old artifacts he retrieved from his office sites. He invites Pilate to come and paint him anything from his collection of inappropriate objects. That’s when he meets his first mechanical subject: a “beautiful, vintage” red fire bell.

That experience sent his artistic career in a new direction. Suddenly, galleries were interested in his work, and he started making money.

“In a sense painting a machine especially connects me to people,” Pilate said.

His possession for old machines later led him to a stay on board USS Hornet, a World War II aircraft carrier in Alameda, California. There, he painted a series of photographs of the ship’s mechanical elements, including exhaust from a Sikorsky helicopter and an airplane engine that he wrapped in Rosie the Riveter ribbons.

“These are real souls, these machines,” Pilate recalls.

He began looking for opportunities at several Bay Area tech companies: Wrightspeed Powertrains, Autodesk, and Waymo. In Waymo, Pilate spent several months trying to paint the Lidar component on the self -driving force, only to stop in disappointment. As a photo artist, he seeks history, personality, form of appearance-qualities he strives to find in Waymo’s compact roomeop dome.

“It’s starting to come out really counterintuitive,” he said. “The way I think about new technologies, they’re like teenagers. As a classic painter, your job is to get the core of the sitting, not the superficial. These machines, they don’t have souls. ”

It felt like a bitter personal failure, he said, but Pilate continued to look for an opportunity to bring even more new technologies to the canvas.

Courtesy of Agnieszka Pilat

He saw the videos on Spot, Boston Dynamics ’robotic dog that is famous on the popular Youtube channel, and longs to meet it, maybe draw it too. An industry friend introduced himself for his name, and Boston Dynamics invited him to their 180,000-square-foot facility in Waltham, Massachusetts, for a visit. His original purpose was to go and “make a little sketch,” but that sketch turned into a year of sketches and many encounters with some of the most advanced robots.

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