Challenge: Get computers to paint like your favourite artist

A computer-animated image of Örebro University and AI engineer Mårten Karlberg.

AI engineer Mårten Karlberg has produced an image of Novahuset using the same technology that will be used for Deep Art Challenge.

From raw data to “draw data”. At least that is the goal of Deep Art Challenge. Using AI technology, computers will generate pictures in the same style as the participants’ favourite artists.

The three-part Deep Art Challenge is launched by AI Impact Lab at Örebro University. The premise is that all students so inclined can participate. In the first part of the challenge, students are to get the computer to imitate the style of American artist Bob Ross.

"He has painted a range of landscapes with mountains and strong colours. The challenge is to teach the computer the style of the artist by feeding it the relevant data, enabling the computer to generate its own image in keeping with that style. It works best with fairly homogenous images. Using Bob Ross’s art is therefore a great way to start,” says AI engineer Mårten Karlberg, judge and coordinator of the challenge.


To generate images, participants log into a data science platform and feed data into the system by following step-by-step instructions. In part two of the challenge, participants repeat the process, but this time, instead of using Bob Ross’s art as a template, the data input is based on an artist of their choice.

“No programming knowledge is required, and it takes less than an hour to complete the task. If you want, you can then try to improve the outcome by making changes to the parameters,” says Mårten Karlberg.

In the first two parts of the challenge, low-resolution images are generated. But if you are up for a real challenge, you can tackle the third component and create high-resolution images of Bob Ross paintings.

“Here, however, programming knowledge is a requirement. Some really heavy computations may be needed,” says Mårten Karlberg.

Online gallery

The generated artwork will be gathered in an online gallery, and they will also be on display at the university. The challenge is open all summer and the best entries will be selected in the autumn.

It is not the first time AI Impact Lab is organising events combining culture and AI. Last autumn, Music Tech Fest was held, when participants created music using AI.

Text: Mikael Åberg
Translation: Charlotta Hambre-Knight
Photo: Mårten Karlberg and Mikael Åberg