Space Boy Jordan Thomas and His Handmade Robots Invade Phoenix

Space Boy Robot Jordan Thomas at his Phoenix Comicon booth.
Space Boy Robot Jordan Thomas at his Phoenix Comicon booth.
Courtesy of the artist

Last month, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), issued a guide on how to survive the zombie apocalypse. While the chances of a 'humans v. zombies' showdown are highly unlikely, preparedness is the only way we'll win the war on terror.

However, if robots come to life, they're totally going to take over. Unlike zombies, robots are adorable--and America loves all things cute.

Jordan Thomas is a Phoenix artist with a knack for 'bots, and the mastermind behind Space Boy Robot. Over the past several years, he's created as many as 10 'bots a week for humans around the world -- all from his third-floor bedroom-turned-studio in his townhouse.

"At last count -- and this was before (Phoenix) Comicon -- [the robot count] was in the 700s," he says.

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The artist started building robots in Louisiana about 5 years ago, when he was living behind a hobby store. "My friend really liked robots, so I decided to make a robot out of wooden blocks and spools (from Hobby Lobby)."

Thomas' robots quickly became a "phenomenon" among his social circle, and a friend suggested he start selling them on Etsy. Soon, fans as far away as Japan and New Zealand were ordering Thomas' unique 'bots online, and right here in the Valley.

The humans are dead, robots invade Phoenix Comicon
The humans are dead, robots invade Phoenix Comicon
Courtesy of Jordan Thomas

The robots, which range in size from 9- to 13-inches, are made from all sorts of materials -- old clothespins for "perfect robot arms," children blocks, battery packs -- and reflect the nostalgic image of retro-robots.

"I like sci-fi a lot," Thomas says, "but I wouldn't consider myself an über fan. I get a lot of inspiration from Twilight Zone."

While Thomas' robots don't move, or speak like Robby the Robot from the 1960s, each one does provide a small storage space, typically around the torso, and most importantly, an escape from reality.

In late 2009, Thomas' partner, Marcos Rodriguez, was involved in an accident. He survived, but suffered severe spinal cord injuries that required extensive physical therapy in Colorado.

Together, the couple temporarily relocated to Denver in December 2009, staying through February 2010. While Rodriguez learned to walk again, Thomas built robots.

"(Making robots) is definitely a stress reliever," Thomas says. "It's my escape, it's easy to close off, and just work on robots, and paint them, kind of exit the real world."

Thomas' creations can be spotted all over Phoenix -- outside MADE Art Boutique every first Friday of the month (and inside the store on any other day), Scottsdale Museum of Contemporary Arts' gift shop, and Red Hot Robot.

See more of his work on the official Space Boy website.

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Note: This post has been edited to reflect up to date information since publication.

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