The SprayPrinter

Check out what Thomas Boldt has to say about the The SprayPrinter.

Most of the hype in the world of printing lately seems to be focused around 3D printing. While it can be used in some fascinating ways by sculptors and installation artists, artists who work in two-dimensional media might feel like they’re getting a bit ignored by the march of technological progress. A new tech startup from Estonia is aiming to change all that with the invention of a remarkable new device they call the SprayPrinter, which allows you to print/paint images from your smartphone using spray paint.

The device snaps onto the top of an ordinary can of spray paint, and wireless connects with an app on your smartphone. The user simply chooses an image to work from and then starts painting, and the high-speed nozzle on the aerosol can works to emit bursts of paint that match the pixels in the source image. Using a combination of the smartphone camera and a Bluetooth connection, the SprayPrinter tracks exactly what’s been printed from the image and knows what to print next no matter where you point it.

By swapping out the spray paint cans for additional colors, it’s possible to build up extremely complex pictures in a series of pixelated color layers in a similar way to how a professional-quality offset press separates images into four color channels (cyan, magenta, yellow and black) to create any visible color. It’s also possible to change source images during the process, allowing you to layer various images together in a sort of real-world version of Photoshop, all done in spray paint, which opens up a whole range of artistic possibilities.

At this point, you’re probably wondering whether or not this technology is going to be embraced or shunned by artists. It’s one of the enduring questions in the art world that seems to come up every time a new medium or technology is invented. At the time of the invention of photography, many artists argued that it would never be taken seriously as an artistic outlet or fretted that it might put them out of work, but like most innovations it simply allowed new artists to push a different set of boundaries, and today photography is widely accepted as an artistic medium.

The people behind the SprayPrinter have taken this issue as a challenge, and have taken the time to create a place for a growing community of artists to share and discuss their works online, with the hope of building a new artistic discipline. With any luck, more and more artists will begin to explore the possibilities of this new technology, and Banksy and other famous street artists may find themselves challenged for their leadership of this emerging genre!