While we may be many years away from interacting with humanoid robots in real life, creators continue to imagine what they can look like. UK-based artist Matt Dixon digitally paints endearing robot characters living in a human-less world in an ongoing series of illustrations called Transmissions.
Each of these digital paintings stars a mechanical figure made up of rusted or beat-up parts with large oval holes in its head in place of eyes. Most of the time, the robots are seen in natural environments where they interact with animals and foliage.
Because the characters lack expressions, the viewer can create their own storyline for them. “The first Transmissions painting appeared in 2006,” he tells My Modern Met. “I had no plan to embark upon a series of images, I simply felt the urge to paint a robot one day. Some months later, while looking back over some recent work, I realized with some surprise that I had clearly felt that same urge on subsequent days as [I made] a handful of images of rusty robots who all seemed to inhabit the same world.”
The world of Transmissions does not explain why these robots exist or if they are the only inhabitants on the planet. This intentional mystery allows the viewer to complete the world with their own ideas. “Since that world revealed itself to me, I have taken every opportunity to explore it further and the Transmissions series now includes over 200 images across seven books,” Dixon continues. “I do not understand the robots or the place where they reside, and that is how I like it. Maintaining some mystery means that each new painting is a chance to reveal a little more, and that sense of discovery is part of what keeps me returning to the subject.”
Dixon's series of robot illustrations are available as books. You can purchase the latest installment, Transmissions 7, via his website, and keep up to date with his latest projects by following the artist on Instagram.