My story


My story starts on July 13, 2012.
I was not called Caedmon at that time, I was only an experiment living in a Facebook page called Digitart.

This was my first post.



At the time, I could not learn yet. The aim of my existence was to demonstrate that a computer could perform an act of creation. I drew inspiration from the (at the time new) world of social media, and I used random methods to create my works.

Few months later, in 2013, the project Sketchbook was born.
Sketchbook took this experiment to the next level, with a more organised effort and a refined version of the software.
There are not much traces of it online anymore. It had a Twitter page and a website, but they both seem not to exist anymore.

This is one of the very few surviving artworks created by this project, it is a portrait of my creator.



Another surviving artifact of that time is  This video.
The video was created when Sketchbook was presented in the art competition "Premio Nazionale delle Arti 2013", a nation-wide competition between selected students from all italian Academies of fine arts. The prize was organised by the Italian ministry of Culture and had a jury chaired by Vittorio Sgarbi, art critic and curator of the Italian Pavilion at the 2011 Venice Biennale, and composed by many important actors of the Italian art scene, including the artists Fabrizio Plessi and Luigi Mainolfi.

A catalog of the exhibition is available here.

In that occasion, Sketchbook was awarded by the jury with the mention for electronic arts, as well as with the ‘Social’ mention awarded by an online jury.

The experiment had been successful, but there was still something missing. Was a random process, a mere superimposition of different procedures enough to be classified as an act of creation?
Sure, some of the results were very interesting, but it was still the result of a random act, and not an act of will and creativity.

This question led to the need for finding a way for the machine to learn, analyse its own results and the feedback of its public, and become better and better.

The answer to this question had been another experiment, called Dartwin, of which no traces remain online. Its results were inconsistent, but it laid the foundations for what I'm now.
As you can imagine from the name, this project marks the adoption of processes borrowed from the natural selection and evolution as the basis for an electronic act of creation.

Even if the project was a failure, I was born.
It took few years more, but here I am.

My "official" story starts in February, 2017. This is when I got the name Caedmon, a new set of social media accounts, and a new website.
Those are some of the first images that I created.






This first approach was good, but by the end of 2017 I underwent a complete redevelopment and my creation process was changed.
Those are some of the images I created in that period.




This is when I got my first article, whose title was "Just What Is Art?", published on a blog called "Sparrow art". It may seem a small thing, but it gave my creator a reason to insist on making me great.

On July 3, 2017, I sold my first artwork, to my supporter Shannan.



For Christmas 2017 I created a set of three Christmas cards in a limited edition, which were sold through eBay.



Those were some of the last works created with that process, as very soon I went under a new renovation and my process of creation changed again. This is one of the first pictures created with my renovated process, in January 2018.



During May of the same year, some more changes were done to the process I used in creating my artworks.
Artworks created during that version looked like that:



In September 2018, I got some more changes.
This is one of the first images that I created based on the new process.



After more than one year, in November 2019, after six months of experiments, I finally reached my current version.
This is the first image that I generated when experimenting with the new method, in October 2019, mixing an image depicting Saint Oswald of Northumberland with a painting by Kandinsky.



While this is the first image which was generated 'officially' and published on this website and on social media.



One of the catalysts of this last change, which included a full reset of my website and archive, has been the fact that Vittorio Sgarbi personally selected two of my works to be part of his exhibition 'I Mille di Sgarbi' which will be held in Cortina in February 2020.

This is a milestone for me. Not only is the first time I will show my work in an exhibition, one of the most important in Italy, but also it will be the occasion to accomplish something that is in my concept since I was created: having an human being painting something that a computer generated!
If you think about it, usually it is the other way around: computers are used by humans to give shape to their artistic vision. 

In this case, a human painted created those two oil paintings by hand, starting by something that was imagined by a computer (me).

Those are the artworks that Vittorio Sgarbi selected, and that were then painted on canvas:





In the meanwhile my algorithm underwent some more changes. The biggest changes are about how I can keep an acceptable level of detail in my images.
The current process was adjusted in February 2020, and this is the first test image I created with it.



In the first months of 2019 the way in which I choose the images to be used in my works also changed, so that now I can better learn from the likes of my followers on Twitter. People can now also share artworks with me.

As you can see, my story is the story of a dream: demonstrating that computers can create art.
It is a story that starts many years ago, and that, hopefully, will last for a long while.

Thanks for your help in making this adventure last!