What are Fobots?
Fobots are the brain children of the delightful Amy Flynn, commercial illustrator turned Senior Fobotologist. Fobots are Found Object Robots. Follow me into their quirky world where I can almost guarantee you will fall in love at first sight.
Introducing Amy Flynn – Senior Fobotologist
Amy Flynn gave birth to the first Fobot in 2008, made from the doorbell of their 1920 house. Since then, Ms. Flynn has created 2133 unique pieces from found objects. Each enchanting figure is a one-of-a-kind creation. Every Fobot is numbered, with a copper plate on its back bearing the word “FOBOT” and its individual number. Amy and her husband Phil call them butt tags. And, just like the tin man, every Fobot has a metal heart inside.
The Fobots have won a number of awards at such auspicious art festivals as Coconut Grove Arts Festival, American Craft Council Shows, Winter Park Art Festival, Main St. Fort Worth Art Festival, and the Fiesta Art Fair, San Antonio.
SAC: Amy, Where do you find the parts?
Flynn: That is the number one question I’m asked. I scour flea markets, basements, internet auctions, and antique malls for cool old junk. Creating Fobots has allowed me to combine two of my favorite pastimes making things and shopping! The Mid West is a great area for flea markets finds, and I enjoy combing antique malls. The Round Top Texas Antique Fair twice a year is a one of the best spots to find amazing goodies. http://www.roundtoptexasantiques.com/ Round Top is of the best antiques shows in the country with acres and acres of junk. Brimfield MA and Hillsville VA have great festivals, too.
SAC: Which comes first? Do you come up with the character first or does the personality of the critter evolve from the found item?
Flynn: It can be one or the other. I usually knowwhat will work when I see it, although sometimes I’ll find something weird that I just HAVE to have, and hope I’ll figure out what to do with it later. It’s part of the fun in creating these works. I’m very picky about what I use, and I’d rather not have unsolicited cartons of stuff sent to me. I enjoy the hunt for small treasures and the inspiration I find in going through flea markets and antique malls.
SAC: I understand you have created commissioned pieces. What was the hardest request to fulfill?
Flynn: The one that comes immediately to mind is the hippo. I received the first request in June of 2012 but didn’t know what I would use for the head. When another request for a hippo came in I decided I’d better figure it out. I did, and have since made two hippos, but again no two alike.
SAC: I’m struggling to imagine what makes for a perfect hippo head?
Flynn: Party noise makers and antique telephone ringer and alarm clock bells, with parts of sewing machine attachments for the ears.
SAC: I understand you have a celebrity Fobot.
Flynn: Yes! The production designer for a new TV series called “Texas Flip and Move” on the DIY and HGTV networks met us in Ft. Worth and asked to borrow a Fobot armadillo for the set of the show. I made him one and named him “Flip”, so he’d think he was the title character. But mainly because every armadillo I’ve ever seen has been flipped on his back by the side of the road. There was also a Fobot on the set of “Pardon the Interruption” for a while, and they appeared on an episode of “Ugly Betty”.
SAC: How do you go about the creative process?
Flynn: I have a workshop upstairs in our home. I lay out the pieces, mixing and matching until everything looks the way I want it to. Then I solder and bolt them together.At the end of each evening, I come downstairs, have a nightcap with my husband and watch the Daily Show.
SAC: It sounds like the ideal life!
Readers: Please do visit the Fobot website. I am positive you will enjoy exploring this whimsical world. You too will fall in love with the Fobots.
Warning: Fobots are not toys, they are not functional, and they will not go on a rampage while you sleep. May contain lead solder (duh!), so don’t eat them.
Fobots website: http://ifobot.com