Visual Arts

Jobot Seeking Submissions for Robot Art Show on Third Friday

Given that its moniker evokes notions of automatons, androids, and cyborgs, one would think that two-year-old Jobot Coffee Shop already would've hosted a robot-themed art exhibition

When we asked Joey Grether, who's organizing a showcase of robot artwork at the Fifth Street establishment for March's Third Friday, why it's taken so long for a no-brainer idea such as this to finally come about, he seemed just as perplexed.

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"Dunno, man. That's a good question," he says. "It's just something we've never gotten around to until now. We should have, since one of the weird ideas behind Jobot at the beginning was that you could get a cup of Joe from a robot or something."

Grether seeks submissions for the "Robots at Jobot" art show and contest, which will open on Friday, March 15. According to the artist and activist, the "contest" portion of the event will involve attendees voting for their favorite pieces. The work that gets the most votes, he says, will earn its creator free coffee for a month.

(The event may or may not also feature an appearance by Sketchbot, a curious man-made creation that appeared at recent First Fridays and consists of a robot hewn from cardboard boxes that creates quick portraits of people for only a dollar.)

Grether, who's also known by his nickname, Phil Freedom, is hoping that local artists will submit works from across a wide variety of mediums. Pieces that run the gamut from sculptures of automatons to robot-themed assemblages or collages made with scrap metal or found objects also are encouraged.

"A lot of people take to painting, but we're beginning to see people at First Friday doing a hodgepodge of metallic pieces or sculpture pieces featuring robots," he says. "It's kind fun to see what people might come up with since everyone likes robots or has been fascinated by robots at one time in their lives."

Grether is also hoping that local creatives will submit works that function as machines or perform a specific task, no matter how small.

"I always like the idea of robots doing very little things like opening your beer or being a doorstop or whatever," he says. "People should think about making a project that might be useful in some degree, since a robot doesn't have to come to life and it can still have some use."

And if someone has the wherewithal to create a lifesize automaton, whether it be a actual Transformer or Robbie the Robot from Lost in Space, then that would be cool, too.

"I doubt there will be too many human-sized pieces," Grether says, "But if there are, then we'll have room for like one or two if someone creates them."

All artwork must be in place by Friday, March 15. For more info, e-mail Grether at [email protected] or visit the event's Facebook page.

The Robot Art Show and Contest opens on Friday, March 15, at Jobot. An opening reception takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is free.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.