^
Keep New Times Free
4

Space Boy Jordan Thomas and His Handmade Robots Invade Phoenix

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.

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 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."

I Support
  • Local
  • Community
  • Journalism
  • logo

Support the independent voice of Phoenix and help keep the future of New Times free.

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.

Follow Jackalope Ranch on Twitter and Facebook

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

Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.

 

Join the New Times community and help support independent local journalism in Phoenix.