As a journalist, I have conducted hundreds of interviews, yet rarely have I spent a more pleasant hour than sharing in the halcyon hopes and dreams of Toronto artist, Matthew Del Degan. Matthew has a vision of a different kind of city; one where the invisible barriers between the us are broken down so that in places so densely populated, no one has to feel alone. His vision of a city filled with love is youthful, idealistic and infectious.
Finding Love in a Concrete Jungle
The Lovebot Invasion is Matthew’s dream of a friendlier city brought to life: “I was sitting on the subway talking to a stranger when I realised that, while I was having a great time, everyone else was miserable,” says Matthew. “I wondered what they would discover if they started talking to each other. People in the concrete jungle are so disconnected, like faceless robots just going about their days. They feel alienated and alone which is crazy when there are so many amazing people right in front of them.”
What is a Lovebot?
The Lovebots are small child-sized robot sculptures made of concrete to symbolise the concrete jungles that inspired their birth. They are grey and faceless like the city’s long-suffering masses. But these cute little bots have red hearts in their chests and arms outstretched for a big hug.
The first Lovebot was created for Matthew’s grandma, Maria, whom he says was the inspiration for spreading love across the city: As the creator of Lovebot, there’s only one person who I felt deserved lovebot #001. This woman instilled so much love and compassion to both my mother and I as we grew up and she is a large part of who I am. My Nona Maria babied me, and through the love that she gave to my mother and I she taught us how to love. The Love Invasion, my art and I wouldn’t be what it is today without her the love that she provided,” says Matthew. Once he had created the first Lovebot, he thought of ways to spread the idea around, asking Lovebot fans to write in with their stories of random acts of kindness in return for small Lovebot heart stickers. When these stickers started popping up all over the city as a sigil to those who wished to awaken the sleeping heart of the city, he decided it was time for the next step.
The Lovebot Invasion
“Lovebot reiterates the fact that we have the privilege of being human, where we are not restricted to programming; many of us work like robots in this technologically driven concrete jungle. However, humans are not robots and they have the capacity to share love and kindness with one another,” says Matthew. “I wanted to put Lovebots all over the city to spread the message of being friendlier, kinder and more loving to each other.”
With the support of family and friends, Matthew has managed to sculpt 100 Lovebots, each dedicated to a story of kindness that he has received from Lovebot fans the world over. With the help of his dedicated team of volunteers and, after countless hours of blood, sweat and tears, the Lovebots are launching. All over the city of Toronto, these sweet little Bots of Love are popping up, arms outstretched asking you to love a little more today.
“When you act out of love, you will meet with success,” says Matthew. “When you act out of fear, everything shuts down. Fear controls you, but love sets you free.” Visit Matthew’s Lovebot site to find a Lovebot near you. Write to him with your own stories of kindness, no matter where you live, and get a Lovebot sticker.
Want a little Lovebot of your own? Find the story that you love best and Matthew will clone the Lovebot for you. Contact the artist for pricing.
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