Artist Gary Hirsch had an amazing, simple, and brilliant idea. To paint bots on dominoes and let them inspire all over the world. Over 25,000 little bots, to be exact. Portland born Hirsch is an artist, improv guru, and Ted Talk speaker who graced Boulder with his inspiring Bot Joy project April 23rd-May 2nd. His presence is calming and serene, yet he harbors ecstatic enthusiasm towards his Bot Joy mission. Watching Hirsch hand paint this lively new mural in Boulder, his largest to date, really brought the excitement of the project to new heights.
RE:, the spring celebration of creative thinking created by BDW, set up the 6-day long art celebration. Boulder treated Hirsch right, so he returned the favor with 7 giant robots on two walls in Boulder, the pictured mural, a wall at the intersection of 13th St and Arapahoe on the Risk Management Building.
It all began with Hirsch’s brilliant idea of using dominoes to paint little joy bots, brave bots, and any kind of bot you can imagine, mostly with children and youth in need. “Brave Bots” have helped young patients at Randall Children’s Hospital gain encouragement when they need it the most and interactive “Joy Bots” in cities like Portland, New York, Las Vegas and London (now Boulder and Denver) have put smiles on countless faces. When asked if he had a favorite, Hirsch explained the concept closest to his heart is the brave bot.
Hirsch saw kids in for minor things like shots, or those going through major things like surgery or chemo, who painted their own brave bots and held on to them tight as each new challenge arose. The idea is simple, yet the effect is immeasurable. After all, people of all ages need a brave bot on their side in life. Gary Hirsch’s bot joy program got a response that no one could have possibly expected.
The kids loved the bots and the hospital began making the brave bots part of their “curriculum” every year for the new patients. The bots have taken on a life of their own, being created by kids or artists all over the country on the back of dominoes, and placed on city park benches, street corners, under street lights.
It has become a beautiful and simple way to pass along good karma in the world. The attention to detail and bizarre, exciting, and interactive aspects are what I admire most about the mural. Gary Hirsch believes his art exists without his opinion or point of view on it. He gives it to the passerby; they become the creator.
Now, with the Boulder Bot Stories murals, the people of Colorado can tell their own stories. There are instructions at the mural, beckoning the visceral art enthusiast to use the bot art for their own story. The latest 6-day art communication project ran all week leading up to his speech at the final RE: hosted event. The stunning new mural is participatory, meaning these thrive on the sharing and participation of the passer by. Use Instagram and Facebook to hashtag #boulderbotstories and #botjoy and tell your own story under each bot, each with their own individualized meaning.
- Joy Bot: What Brings you joy?
- Creativity Bot: What inspires you?
- Love Bot: Who do you love?
- Dream Bot: What’s Your Dream?
- Help Bot: What do you need help with?
Hirsch encourages people taking photos with the bots to tell their own story. Tell the world who inspires you, who you love, what brings you joy. It is this dynamic and ever changing story line of the bots that I find most inspiring. They are as flux as life itself. In his inspiring Ted Talk, Hirsch tells people to “meet their monster,” to embrace life in all it’s challenges. Watch the video below and watch out for Gary Hirsch and his bots all over the city.