Gary Hirsch, founder of Bot Joy, will be painting three 16-foot robots in Boulder.
Gary Hirsch, founder of Bot Joy, will be painting three 16-foot robots in Boulder. (Courtesy photo)

Bot Joy in Boulder

What: Artist Gary Hirsch will paint a mural of three giant robots on the south wall of Boulder's risk management building. The public is invited to observe the installation and interact with Hirsch.

When: 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday; 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to noon May 3

Where: 1301 Arapahoe Ave. in Boulder

Cost: Free

Gary Hirsch has made a career of painting robots.

He paints little ones on dominoes and bigger ones on walls. Now he's painting three 16-footers in downtown Boulder.

The Portland-based Hirsch, founder of Bot Joy and a street artist by trade, says each bot is "programmed" to inspire a certain feeling in its owner or viewer.

"They kind of help you have a conversation with yourself," he said.

Starting Sunday and over the course of six total sessions next week, he'll paint bots themed "joy," "love" and "help" on the city's risk management office at 1301 Arapahoe Ave., across from Boulder High School.

"The piece will be there to become a bit of a catalyst for connection with the community," Hirsch said. "It's going to be posing very specific questions."


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Though Hirsch and a few Boulder High art students will be the only ones painting, the weeklong affair is intended to be highly interactive, with the public welcome to stop by and observe the installation and interact with the artist.

"Bringing my art to such an open and receptive city thrills me," he said. "I hope people find some enthusiasm, some joy from the work, but I also hope they find some connection with each other."

The project is planned as a one-year installation.

Matt Chasansky, manager of Boulder's Office of Arts & Cultural Services, said the city was thrilled to invite Bot Joy.

"It blows my mind the projects he was able to tease out of this very simple concept of the bots," he said. "When we found out he was coming to town, we decided it'd be an easy project for us to bring here and make a little bit of joy with a purpose."

Added Chasansky: "I think the character of Boulder is such that people are ready to have these types of conversations. It's a community that's very interested in helping each other, and the idea that art is another way for people to have these experiences — it was just opportune that Gary was brought to us."

Hirsch's invitation originally came from David Slayden, executive director of the University of Colorado-affiliated Boulder Design Works program. While Hirsch is in town, he'll also host a product exposition Thursday afternoon for five teams of BDW graduate students who have designed mobile apps.

"We want to break up the traditional dog-and-pony act when students show their work," Hirsch said. "The work that I do is about breaking down the wall, asking how can you incorporate more interactivity."

Aside from his art, Hirsch also works as an improvisational acting coach, and he said the experience will largely inform his role in Boulder's Bot Joy and the BDW fair.

"I love the idea of co-creating with an audience as we go," he said.

Contact Camera Staff Writer Alex Burness at 303-473-1389 or burnessa@dailycamera.com. Follow him at twitter.com/alex_burness.