Q + A with Indy Droids

Indy Droids is an Indianapolis-based droid designer of stickers, robots, and more. Upon completion of a design, they “drop” creations around Indy for people to find and keep for themselves. Previously featured in the The Makers issue of PATTERN magazine, this sci-fi enthusiast brand is continuing their efforts to grow the arts community with new and inventive ideas. With these designs, it’s just the beginning.

Jenna Drake: What piqued your initial interest in designing your products?

Indy Droids: I’ve always liked to create things and I never really had an outlet for it, so it just accumulated in a pile in a room in my house. I came across this free art fair that people do in Atlanta, and thought, ‘I could do that here,’ and get my name out and get something going that way.

JD: What sculptures, engineers, and other visuals artists influence your pieces?

ID: I really like 1950s/Midcentury type of stuff, and the sci-fi design. Like the George Nelson (lamp) that we’re sitting under. I live in a 1950s house. I just really like things from that kind of era.

JD: What’s a recurring theme you tend to lean toward while creating?

ID: A lot of Star Wars, a lot of generic sci-fi, robots. I try and make things I think people will enjoy.

JD: Where do you get the materials or ‘scraps’ to create these projects?

ID: A lot of it started from having accumulated a pile of crap because I do like to make random stuff a lot. Some stuff from home remodeling projects, and finding an old light fixture and thinking, ‘Oh I’ll just store that away for later.’ Over time I accumulated stuff, and thought, “I could make tiny little robots out of this stuff,” and that’s how it started. It’s somewhat moved away from those a bit because they were pretty time consuming to throw together and put out every week.

JD: What’s your favorite material to work with?

ID: I like to use a lot of reclaimed stuff, either junk from remodeling projects or Goodwill. I go to Goodwill on my lunch break everyday. Lately I’ve been making these sculptures with some 45s (records) that I had from another project and album covers. I got the 45s on Craigslist, originally for my wedding invitations. They’re actually organ tracks for roller skating. I listened to a couple and they were terrible.

JD: What comes first for you: the design materials or the design concept?

ID: I’d say usually materials. I’ll come across something, like these records, and think, “Oh they’re translucent, and they kind of look like halos,” and make something around that.

JD: What’s a piece you are most proud of?

ID: I do really like this “Pig” droid I made for a friend in Atlanta for a secret santa exchange. He does a lot of pig illustrations, so I thought I’d make a little Pig robot. I made him on a unicycle, so I had to make a stand for him, and just used some scraps I had in the basement and made an acrylic stand so it looks like he’s standing on his own. I was pretty pleased with how he turned out.

JD: How is your new free “art box” project going?

ID: I’m trying to get more people involved with it. I just installed the first free art box behind General Public Collective in Fountain Square. There’s a little alley that I put it in.

JD: In addition to just dropping them places, do you sell the droids anywhere?

ID: I do have an Etsy shop. I posted some new stuff on there a few days ago to try and revamp it a little bit. I’ve also done a couple of group shows that I’ve gotten from just people stumbling across me on Instagram and asking, “Hey do you want to participate in this,” and I said, “Of course!”

JD: Do you have any advice for up and coming makers in the midwest region?

ID: Just get out there and make stuff. I think that creating free art is a good way to get out there and get exposure. I didn’t know how to work the “gallery scene.” I feel like you have to know people to get into those things. I just tried to throw my name out there, and use a bunch of hashtags and try to get people to come my way, and eventually people started to find me. I got a few gigs here and there. Right now I’m working with a local t-shirt company to hopefully get some of my designs on shirts.

JD: What’s something the Indianapolis scene can do to support creative people like yourself?

ID: Use the free art box! Make some art, put it in there!

JD: What’s more rewarding: finalizing your piece or your client’s reaction?

ID: I like when people come back and say, ‘Hey this made my day!’ so it’s nice to hear that. I am usually just giving it away, so it’s an act of giving to hopefully make somebody happy.

JD: What goals for Indy Droids for the future? Do you have plans for expansion outside of the Indianapolis area?

ID: Sometimes if I’m in another town, I’ll drop a droid. A few months ago I did that in Bloomington. I’m from South Bend, so every once in awhile I’ll drop some up there. Within Indianapolis, seeing how well this art box thing goes, will be a tell. It seems a lot of people are on board. I don’t know who will really come through with that, so we’ll see! If that gets enough use, I could add another location or move the box to another location to get more variety in the mix.

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