Born to disrupt, and a track record to prove it, Matthew Del Degan shares his story about his motivation for positive disruption and change through art. Matthew grew-up in a loving five-person household on the outskirts of Toronto.
When Matthew moved into the downtown core to begin his studies at OCAD he fell under the city’s spell. Those of us who are also city transplants may likely relate to the enchantment of city lights, urban sounds, and the hustle of people. Eventually, for many, the spell wears off as routine creeps in, and awe is replaced with the robotic coldness of a concrete jungle. Six years later Matthew is still enamoured, and right now he is trying to revive that lost luster for Torontonians.
Matthew’s solution? A Love Invasion. Like all good invasions, this one started sometime ago and was well underway before many of us knew it. You may have noticed growing number of 2-foot tall concrete robots cropping up throughout the GTA. Perhaps this happy little robot with a big heart greeted you outside a favourite treat shop, deli, café, clothing store, or home décor store. Did this ambassador of love induce a smile? Did you see the day with fresh perspective? Were you reminded of love? If so, mission accomplished.
Lovebot is made from concrete. This material pays homage to the city that gave birth to it. Lovebot emerges from buildings, sidewalks and roadways to cause casual disruption. Lovebot’s heart leads the way, like a beacon causing passersby to stop and contemplate.
Lovebot is not just a symbol, but also a storyteller. Each Lovebot is numbered and each number corresponds to a story of love and kindness. Find the stories by robot or map at [http://lovebot.com/]. Anyone can contact Lovebot to share their own story of love or a good deed. Lovebot is bound to respond.
It is through these interactions that Lovebot’s heart grows. The relationships Lovebot has made in Toronto and abroad are meaningful and unique. Beyond warming the hearts of anonymous Torontonians, Lovebot has inspired local artists to make their own art and has celebrated the birthday of a girl in Bangladesh via Instagram. “While I go to sleep, I know someone in France, Australia or Japan is doing something wonderful for someone because Lovebot told them to go and do something kind for someone. That’s a pretty fulfilling purpose, knowing that when you wake-up in the morning the world is a better place.” Positive impact like this is positively immeasurable.”
Did you know Lovebot listens to music? Aphid and electronic dance music fill his playlist and have inspired him to produce his own album entitled L.V.B.T.
Matthew Del Degan
At the heart of this project is Matthew and at its root are a creative, loving, and supportive family. It has been said that the first Lovebot was dedicated to Matthew’s Grandmother. “It’s sort of the truth”, Matthew says, “because she instilled the love my Mom has and she in turn instilled it in me. She loved my Mother unconditionally and my Mother loved me. I grew-up with so much love and support from my amazing siblings and incredible parents that I’m like this really powerful tree; I have been given so many nutrients.” When he moved to the city, he felt a need and obligation to share love with Toronto.
There is more to Matthew than Lovebot. First and foremost he is an industrial product designer. Visit his website [http://www.matthewdeldegan.com/], and you will find a visual yet practical world that is paradoxically surreal yet plausibly real. Think a little bit of Dr. Seuss meet Tim Burton, heavy on the Willy Wonka, with something new mixed in and you might be getting close.
We also believe he is a bit of a philosopher. Hand in hand with his will for progress is his relentless commitment to be the driving force behind a culture of love. Here are some Matthew Del Degan sound bites for contemplation.
Liken your loved one to a tree. “If you love someone where they are planted (for who they are), whether they are 23, 37, or 62 years of age, they are still the same tree. The difference is only the amount and direction of growth they have taken, but they are still the same tree. If you love it for what it is you get to enjoy it. As soon as a person becomes possessive of the tree, try to prune it or pull from the ground the love will die. Focus on what you have and love it. Don’t focus on what you don’t have.”
“Living what you love.”
“Lead by example.”
“If you make a choice out of love and compassion then everything else will come back to you.”
Reach out to Lovebot on Instagram and Twitter @LOVEBOTTHEROBOT or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.