Massimo Sirelli is an Italian artist who got into the creative world through street art and graffiti during his youth. Having studied digital and virtual design at the prestigious IED of Turin, he has a wonderful eye for detail and a truly creative mind. One of his most famous projects is called Adotta Un Robot (Adopt a Robot), for which he creates little robots with big personalities out of salvaged materials, from empty tins to vintage clocks, and sends them to new, loving homes. We had a chat with Massimo and found out some more about him and his Robots.
1. Where did you get the idea for “Adopt a Robot”?
I’ve always had a passion for Robots. I was born in 1981, so while I was a child in the 80’s, all the cartoons on TV were about robots and superheroes and the toy stores were absolutely full of little Robots, what memories! So as an adult I just decided to keep playing, and to do it in a conscious way in order to try to transmit messages and thoughts which were close to my heart.
2. Usually robots are considered something hi-tech, but you haven’t gone down that route, instead opting to express your creativity through the robots. Can you tell us more about that choice?
The thing my robots all have in common is that they’re all made by me. With my hands, and in my free time. Using only components that have something to do with my life’s path, through my robots I try to eternalise some of my memories and share them with people. The most common question I get, when people are in front of my robots, is “Do they work?” or they ask “Do they do something?” and I smile and tell them that my robots do absolutely nothing, I say that they’re supposed to fill the heart and satisfy the eyes, like how Achille Castiglioni said that objects should be for company, mine are Robots for Company.
3. Robots are assigned to their new owners not just based on how much money someone can offer – what are the other factors involved in finding the perfect home for one of your robots?
I carefully analyse the emails I receive, I don’t reply to those who don’t participate in my game. This project was born to transmit emotions and if someone thinks these are toys, they’re wrong. They’re much more than that, because they guard precious memories and important stories. Only those who understand this and express it to me in words can have one of my works. Those who don’t have love or desire to dream, those who don’t have the sensitivity and heart to understand the in depth sense of my artistic project won’t be able to have one of my Robots.
4.You must have a favourite robot – which one is it?
5.Tell us about your highlight of the “Adopt a Robot” project so far.
There are so many stories which have enriched me. I’ve met so many new people at the exhibitions and activities that I’ve done over the last year. [The highlight] was definitely the beautiful story of the couple who decided to adopt Lili and Lilo, the only couple of little Robots in love in my collection. These were born to remember an important love that I experienced right at the beginning of my artistic project. The story is that shortly after the couple of Robots arrived at the home of this young couple, she found out she was pregnant, and a few months after, a beautiful little boy was born, so I made Lillino for them, the little robot son of Lili and Lilo. Isn’t all that marvellous?
6. Do you have a next project in mind?
I want to keep going with this project and do it in a way that my Robots can go far. Do you have any advice for me? I just want to continue to produce my works and do it in a way that they are looked after with love.
7.Which books or films would you recommend for someone looking for creative inspiration?
8.What does “creativity” mean to you?
I’d been asking myself my whole life what it meant, and after reaching the 30 years old threshold I understood that creativity is having heart and putting heart into the things that you do. So, Viva Robots!