Interview with Gary Hirsch: His doodles, his bots and his love of Back Fence

Hi friends! Back Fence Babe Meagan Kate here! We are so excited to have artist Gary Hirsch giving out his brand new, never-before-touched decision Bots to our audience members at the May 24 show, ‘At A Crossroads.’ This is our FOURTH ANNIVERSARY and the last show until September (because the babes need summer break too, y’all!) and we’re thrilled to have so many awesome guests and fun things in store for you, our loyal audience and friends.

We love Gary and are super excited to have him at the show. Don’t have your tickets yet? Get on it! ==> Head HERE to get ’em!

I got to talk to Gary about his work, and if you would read the interview below, that would bring me great joy!

MK: On your website, you talk about finding your love of doodling at a young age. What advice would you give to a totally grown adult who wants to draw but has absolutely no idea how to draw anything that looks remotely human? (That means me.)

Gary: Remotely human is overrated. We all have these filters we put up (grown ups, kids not so much) that we use to help us look smart, funny, interesting, cool, etc. It is exhausting to run every word that comes out of my mouth through these filters all in a quest to ” look good and win” . When I doodle I don’t give a shit about those filters. I meander, loose track of time, get lost in the scribbles.  So my advice to to grown ups who want to draw is to stop being a grown up and make marks, lots of marks. Don’t being so scared to look stupid. Allow yourself a small moment of your day to be someone who doesn’t know what the hell they are doing.

What other projects do you have coming up?

I am in the midst of a project called “What Brings Portland Joy.” I am leaving 200 Joy Bots in random location throughout the city and inviting the folks that find them to photograph the Bot with something that brings them Joy. They send in the photo to the gallery and then leave the Bot for someone else to find. It is amazing to see what brings Portland Joy. I have had requests from others cities Christchurch, Cleveland, Minneapolis and others, to launch the project there as well.

Coming this summer I will be donating 600 Brave Bots to the new Randall Children’s Hospital where they will give them to children who are being admitted. I will be having a one man Bot show is Las Vegas next year. I am hoping this year to make some giant domino Bots, does anyone know where I can get a human sized domino?

What do you want people to get from your bots?

I love the idea of a small intimate object that helps you in some way.  I have Bots that stop time, help you be brave, wake you up, calm you down, bring you joy, love you, inspire you. each come with “operating instructions” that instruct you to let your Bot get to know you and then “listen” to what it is saying. Sure it’s really you talking to yourself, The Bot’s voice is your voice, so it’s really you helping yourself navigate through this big scary twirling ball, but nobody needs to know any of that as you secretly hold it in your hand.

Why connect with Back Fence PDX?

Seemed like a perfect  fit (or “yes and” as they say in the improv world), Back Fence = unscripted stories about decisions. Decision Bots = little one-of-a-kind objects inspired by story telling  that help you decide. Besides, my son was a guest on Back Fence and it made his year, I love the event!

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