It's difficult to remember the events that followed, but one vivid occurrence remains - there was a constant pulsating flash of images in my mind, specifically of childhood memories. For days I scrambled to find similar representations of those images. I knew they were in the house somewhere - perhaps they were in books, maybe drawings I'd done, objects I'd collected.
|Japanese toy robot.|
Whatever it was, it had gotten out of hand, especially for my wife, Anne, who'd been away during all this. I recall hearing the front door open, her calling my name, and then footsteps clacking as she slowly walked up our wood stairs to the attic where I was secluded. There I sat crouched on the floor, a three day beard on my face, everything in shambles, and showing a frenzied, maddened grin. In my hands was a shoe-box filled with little toys. The robots of my youth. The wonderful human-like droids that had inspired me to create and design my own universe.
Anne didn't exactly share the same euphoria for my re-found stuff, at least not right then. One reason could've been because dinner guests were due within the hour, and the house looked like a nor-easter had blown by. I quickly found myself wearing that special shoe-box on my head and heard a cursing emitted of which only humans are capable.
|Japanese toy rocketship.|
But the point is that robots have stirred the human immagination for eras. The tale above might include a smidge of fantasy, nonetheless, these mechanical beings were an unequivocal force in my aspiration to make art and to eventually become a product designer. People tend to personify machines. Possibly it's just a childlike nostalgia for playing with toys.
Or perhaps it's something deeper and universally compelling, something long embedded in the human psyche - a desire to bring to life things that are by nature unanimated, cold, and non-human. Whichever the case, that fascination still glows within me today...sort of like, well, a flickering LED light. --D.A DeMers
Below: robot-like "Moon Rover" task lamp I designed in 2004. My company proffered it to Crate and Barrel's mod furnishings company, CB2, during a meeting at the IHFC's High Point Market. They rejected it... I actually made the prototype by hand.
Below: dog and elephant toy robots, circa 1960s. Anonymous.