It’s a Love­bot kinda world: GTA artist’s sculp­tures make a state­ment

Richmond Hill Post - - The 905 -

Just over four years ago, a young Matthew Del De­gan boarded the TTC to head off to school. He came across a home­less man and thought noth­ing of strik­ing up a con­ver­sa­tion with him. They laughed, smiled and re­ally kicked up a storm, but the rest of the pas­sen­gers were eerily quiet, Del De­gan thought.

Ev­ery­one, it seemed, was con­sumed by their mo­bile de­vices, al­most as if they were face­less ro­bots. That mo­ment gave him the inspiratio­n to cre­ate an early pro­to­type of what would be­come the Love­bot, a fairly sim­ple mechanical-look­ing ro­bot com­plete with a large heart rep­re­sent­ing the abil­ity to love. Fast-for­ward to to­day, and the Love­bots are tak­ing over Toronto. A hun­dred of them have started to ar­rive, pri­mar­ily in the down­town re­gion, as two-feet-tall, 250-pound ce­ment stat­ues ap­pear­ing at select lo­ca­tions.

The cur­rent con­crete in­car­na­tions of the Love­bot are Toron­to­nian to the core, and Del De­gan, 23, thinks of them as gifts to the city.

“It’s a sym­bol of the city. That’s the rea­son why it’s made out of ce­ment,” Del De­gan says. “The ce­ment ref­er­ences our ar­chi­tec­ture, the con­crete jun­gle.”

De­spite the lo­cal vibe, Love­bots are al­ready mak­ing a splash around the world. Del De­gan has traded stick­ers of the Love­bot with kids on­line for some time, and the Love­bot stick­ers have flown out to more than 100 coun­tries, in­clud­ing France, South Korea, Italy and the U.K. where he has a no­table fol­low­ing.

The ce­ment Love­bots have even pre­vi­ously ap­peared in sev­eral va­ri­eties, some as big as seven and a half feet tall, and were con­structed from ev­ery­thing from wood to steel and plas­tic.

To­day, his team of about 20 vol­un­teers aims to make the world a more friendly and caring place, and even make the most un­likely of us get along by rec­og­niz­ing the ef­forts of do­ing good, by build­ing the Love­bots.

“No mat­ter who you are, the worst tyrant to the most mov­ing leader have stuff in com­mon. Who doesn’t like a clean shower?” Del De­gan says, laugh­ing.

— Dex­ter Brown

Toronto artist Matthew Del De­gan (left) and his col­lec­tion of ‘Love­bots’

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