I recently curated an exhibition of the most promising and interesting drone graffiti projects from the Drone Graffiti blog from the period 2013–2016. Here is an article I wrote at the time, summing up my thoughts on this new way of creative expression and it’s progress so far. You can see the exhibited video below.

Drone graffiti 2013–2016

Some would argue that graffiti is the oldest form of communication in human history. The urge to make a mark of existence and communicate it across time is deeply rooted in us: “I was here, I felt this”. Even if no-one else cares, this is still a profound truth to the person having this experience.

Now, when something that old meets something completely new exciting things are bound to happen.

With modern drone technology meeting graffiti, the ability of being detached from the artwork being produced by the distance afforded by the remote control has an obvious appeal. Previously unreachable places can now be reached without any physical risk. And the detachment, for some painters, have the further advantage of providing previously unseen levels of anonymity.

Just thinking about it opens up new ideas and possibilities of artistic expression and touches upon timeless questions, such as: What is art? And who is really the artist — the technology or the human agent trying to control it? At the moment, the answer is quite simple: It’s 50/50 or, at least, 50% in favor of the technology.

Following this new way of creative expression, still in its infancy, the Drone Graffiti blog has been documenting projects around the world that combine drones and graffiti. What seems like a simple idea at first, attaching a spray can to a drone and get going, has soon turned out to be more challenging. The initial obstacles have been overcome: drones are flying and walls are being painted. But, the precision required to enable truly successful communication is still lacking.

The challenge of keeping an exact distance from the wall without bouncing or straying off the target has yet to be overcome. It’s this challenge that artists and makers around the world are still trying to solve. To reach the next level of saying: “I was here, I felt this”.

Selected drone graffiti projects 2013–2016.

The video selection was first shown at the TrailerPark I/O Festival in Copenhagen Friday July 29 2016. (http://io.trailerparkfestival.com/)

Graffiti Drone, Cameron MacLeod

Drone Drawing 2015, KATSU

Black Hawk Paint, Addie Wagenknecht

Flone with Spay Paint Extender, LOT

Icarus One

Droneknight1, Shmulik Bilgoraei

Signature Strokes, Andres Wanner


Pantograph, MIT Media Lab, Sang-won Leigh, Harshit Agrawal and Pattie Maes

Grapher drone, Hackerloop

The Drone Graffiti blog

UX driven product designer with 20 years experience in editorial design and digital publications. Let’s work together! https://storieswithoutendings.com

UX driven product designer with 20 years experience in editorial design and digital publications. Let’s work together! https://storieswithoutendings.com