What Brings Portland Joy? I was curious, so I created an interactive art experiment designed to answer that question. The goal is to document what brings Portland Joy, and to give a little joy back to the city that I love so much.
Through the months of March-to-August I am leaving 200 Joy Bots in random locations throughout the city of Portland. People that find a Joy Bot are invited to photograph it with something that brings them joy (object, animal, person, idea, anything), to help me create an on-line “What Brings Portland Joy” exhibition (see below) Finally participants were invited to leave their Bot in another random location in Portland to continue the experiment.
What Brings Portland Joy?
Bot #134 found by Izzy B.
Location: Grand Central Bakery, Sellwood. Hiding in plain sight!
What brings me joy: A scoot, some speed, a skid, a slide, a drag of the foot and a corner. I am fast! Bot 134 will be my navigator until he is placed in his new location. Be warned, we are going to Hawaii tomorrow, so it may tell tropical tales of indirect Portland joy.
What Brings Portland Joy? Health Care Coverage And Payton The Puppy! Bot #2 Was first found By Jaxson “ I found the bot at Starbucks on Bybee. The picture attached is of me, the bot, and what brings me joy, which at this point in my life is my health insurance. The bot is standing with my insurance card. I’ve been battling a bizarre skin condition and its costing me a fortune to address. I’m so happy that my insurance covers the majority of it and I am looking forward to healing. I will leave the bot somewhere for someone to find within the next few days. Thanks!” Jaxson did and Bot number 2 was re-found by Randi C. “I work at the Sellwood Westmoreland starbaucks an I looked up an found this bot on the counter. Here is what makes me happy laying with my puppy. Payton he is adorable . We are having a lazy day lounging in bed together. Its our time.
Beer! Left at Dots on Clinton St. “We found joybot #125 and it was perfect timing because one thing that brings me joy is travelling and enjoying good beer with a good friend. Which is exactly what I was doing. Thank you for the extra, random smile. ” -Jeniffer
Graffiti! Bot #156 found by Jai K. I found JoyBot #158 on NW 23rd. I have lived in Portland for just over four years and I love that the art and culture can always keep me intrigued. I work in healthcare and the day before I found my Bot I had an extremely saddening reminder of have precious life is. The Joybot only cemented the reminder to enjoy the little things in life. I smile often because Portland has graffiti with positive and thoughtful messages.
Bot #106 Found by Paige W. Dancing! Left at Emerge Underground Gallery show
“My boyfriend and I found our Joy Bot at an art show. I decided to take the bot dancing, because that’s what brings me joy. This photo was taken at the Waterfront Blues Festival, where we hit the outdoor dance floor for some Swing, Blues, Zydeco, Salsa, Cha Cha and Argentine Tango. When I’m dancing I feel connected to the earth, to the music, to my body and to my partner. It’s blissful, and it’s a blast!
Bot #15 found first by Robert P.Henry The Hippo! Left on Hawthorne, “This is Henry – he loves burritos, video games, and Star Trek. He is pretty mischievous, but his hijinx crack me up and bring me a lot of joy. He came to me with a bottle of Yoo-Hoo when I was very sick. Now we are good pals.”
Bot #15 found again by Jules B in Sacramento
I found this little guy in my room today, no doubt left by an anonymous friend. The Bot made me smile, and I couldn’t think of anyone better to share it with, then my cat Mr. Blue. He is normally a little neurotic, but he took a liking to the Bot and posed nicely for the picture. I can always count on Mr. Blue for a good laugh, and he is what brings me bundles of joy everyday.”
Bot #184 Found 5 times! Here are some highlights!
Found by Terry and Ray L. “Found on our call box at Sellwood Lofts on SE 13th Avenue. What gives us joy: sunny days on the deck, traveling, new food experiences, and grandkids. #184 made friends with our next door neighbor and, no doubt, will have more travels.
Found by Hanne L. “My Nana found the Joy Bot and then she gave it to me:) My guinea pigs, Satchel and Bucky, bring me a lot of fuzzy joy!
Found by Joanna K. Two of my piano students surprised me with #184 after their lessons this week! Later that evening, Bot and I enjoyed some cocoa together, a beverage that brings me joy, even on one of the hottest days of the year.
Bot #165 Found by Thatcher. His Skateboard! Left on SE 13th Ave
“I am Thatcher P. and I found your Joy Bot across the street from Grand Central Bakery in Sellwood. I love my Joy Bot and I chose to photograph it with my skateboard, which is one of my favorite things right now.”
Found by Terry M. Weird Burrito Dinners! “I found Joy Bot 151 on the front porch steps of The Forest Park Conservancy office in Northwest Portland, where I work as Development & Communications Director. 151 came home with me that evening and watched as I made our household’s favorite and oh-so-PDX dinner we simply call “Weird Burritos” (it’s a fusion thing). In the photo 151 can be seen standing among the crumbs, blessing our table as we do the thing that brings my husband and me the simplest joy: having dinner together at home.”
From April who found Bot #143 “I happened upon it in the as I was opening the shop on a Sunday morning on my way in to work, Bolt Fabric Boutique. The discovery of the bot made my day and put in motion a series of events. I am an avid sewer so naturally sewing brings me joy. I have been very inspired to create since I found this bot. I have told several friends and strangers about your joy mission with the bots. I do believe the power of the bots is a great reminder that we are all connected even if by way of bot. The photo of the bot is from my desk where I have my sewing machine set up, those are not voodoo dolls they are weird handmade pincushions. I also love skulls. I have gotten used to the bot sitting on my desk with me and giving me a kind smile when needed. I hope the next person gets as much joy out of the bot as i did.
I had to include the second photo because Art is my first love and will always bring me joy. This is one of my pieces from years ago.
Thanks for the joy and inspiration.
Playmobil and Art! Bot #3 found twice! Found first by Phoebe D. Left at Starbucks SE Bybee. “We found Joy Bot #3 on the corner of SE Bybee & Milwaukie in Westmoreland! Phoebe (age 9) creates intricate playmobil structures which give our family joy! Joy Bot #3 got right in on the action! Where will you find her next?”
Found the second time by Anna S. “I found this bot on the school grounds of Llewellyn elementary school where I am in third grade. I was soooo excited. What a coincidence - we just gave my dad a zen bot for his birthday!!! I decided to put the bot I found with art supplies because I love to be artistic. I wonder who will find it next!
Thanks for a fun project! -Anna S
P.S. I hid the bot in a sugar holder at a breakfast place called Slappy Cakes!
Found by one of my favorite Portland artists, Anna M.! “I was thrilled to find Joybot #115 at Grand Central in Sellwood last week.Things that bring me joy: anything vintage or old. Joybot #115 is joined in this photo with my 1960′s Campus Cuties and other finds. I look forward to transporting him to a new location for him to be found again.”
Chard! Bot #156 “I found my bot at the little pocket park at the very top of Mississippi.
I took a picture of it with some swiss chard in my garden- this chard came up “volunteer” from last years growing season- Its beautiful and delicious!”
Pickles and Sunshine! Bot #123 Found at SE 35th and Division by Nicole B.
Sunny Walks Over Bridges. left at Sushiland on NW 10th found by Emerald B. who wrote: “I found Bot 32 and I had a nice commute to work this morning and snapped a couple shots of what brings this Portlander joy: Walking across the Hawthorne Bridge on a sunny morning. Thanks for doing this project, Gary. Its really wonderful!”
Silver Fox Rabbits! Bot #49 Found by Molly S. “I found the joybot outside of Alberta Coop Grocery store on my way to submit my ballot for the upcoming elections, which later I was happy to find out that I was voted in as a director of the board. I took a picture of the joybot with my Silver Fox Rabbits who bring me great joy watching them frolic and eat the lawn at the Backyard Bunnyfarm. I left the bunny joybot in my neighborhood of Woodlawn in NE Portland, where it is a joy to live. Thanks for the enjoyment of joybots!
Scrambles The Death Dealer Found outside Reed College Sports Center by Dyhana C. “My step-sons-to-be & cat Scrambles the Deathdealer bring me joy!”
JADE PLANTS! 1st Bot Found: Bot #12 left inside Powell’s Books on Hawthorne (see below). It was found by Megan V. She was thrilled “I just love my Jade plant. I am a teacher and a student gave me the plant as a tiny cutting from her garden one day as a gift, and it was really small. I had it on a table downstairs for two years and it never grew an inch. Then my husband moved it upstairs to the window and it started growing like crazy. Now the plant is five years old and really big! Whenever I look at it, it makes me smile.”
Bot #22, passed on now 3 times!
Bunnies found at 7-11. Bot #19 found at Grand Central on Hawthorne by Patti M. “The photo of my bunny and the botjoy is my JOY, I found the bunny at a 7-Eleven 2 years ago, in the parking lot, I went inside and asked the clerk about the bunny that I found, she said the bunny was there for a few days and she was feeding it cheetos, I picked up the bunny and put it on my passenger seat and drove home with it. The bunny sat on the seat all the way home and has been my pet since, after I went to the local pet shops and searched sites to try to find ‘lost bunny’ postings. Her name is Funny Bunny. She is really funny because she actually talks, she makes loud sounds I never knew bunnies talked. I left Bot #19 at Oregon Pho on 82nd Ave for someone else to find”.
Roller Derby left at Emerge Underground Art Opening found by Sander S. ” We picked up Bot#106 at the Emerge Underground art show this last Friday. My girlfriend found it in her purse as we were getting seated at the Rose City Rollers bout last night. It was serendipity really because for seven seasons I have been enjoying the revolution of Women’s Flat Track Roller Derby. Luckily, I live in Portland and have a chance to see some of the best Roller Derby in the country because of the Rose City Rollers. So here is my little guy, track side as seen through my crappy cellphone camera. Should be fun to see where he pops up next. Thanks for this project, it is it’s own joy.”
BREAKFAST BURRITOS! 3rd Bot Found: “I am Bot #1, I was found sitting on the bench outside Fat Alberts in Sellwood – Portland, OR. My temporary owner (Keith F.) placed me next to something he loves very much, the breakfast burrito. Hope to write again soon from my next location…”
High spirited, caring dogs! Found at SE 35th and Hawthorne by Ashleigh T. “My dog brings me joy because she is very high spirited and always cares!!
Bot #16 Brings Double Joy!
Rainy Drives on I-5 The very first Joy Bot Video was submitted by Jonathan B. He found Bot # 39 at Water Ave Coffee and made a hypnotic 3 min video documenting his joy.
Walking The Dogs! Bot #44 Found by Allison S. “We found this Bot #44 outside of Ugly Mug coffee in Sellwood. Our dogs Dixie and Duke make us happy and bring us joy. Spending Thursday mornings walking with our dogs and talking about everything along the way brings us joy.”
Porches! Bot #38 Found by Katie A. Left at Clarklewis “I took a picture of it outside on my porch because I think what gives Portlander’s joy, perhaps more than anything else, is beautiful sunny days like the ones we’ve been gifted these past few days. It’s hard not to be full of joy when it’s 70 degrees and sunny in February!”
Subs! Bot #67 found at Random Order by Charlene C.” Left at Eastside Deli on Lombard with my favorite sandwich of all time. The Italian Sub. Yum!”
Bot #43 Found Left at SE Spokane and 11th “Corina & Rhiannon found the bot sitting on a bench in front of our sweet family owned local art gallery as we arrived the other morning. Here is a picture with the things that bring us the most joy ~ our love girls and our art gallery ~ Love Art! Gallery“
Cherry Blossoms: Bot #46 Found by Tricia S. “I found Bot #46 outside of Boke Bowl on a sunny afternoon last week. It brought me joy right away. “Spring cherry blossoms always bring me joy. These beautiful puffs of color are one of the first signs of spring. They offer hope of warmer weather and fresh new life.”
Chickens: # 56 Found by Jan. C at CHOP “I discovered on a window ledge outside on Williams NW Since our first encounter #56 has ridden around Portland with me.Hanging in the chicken yard has been the most delightful. of all.. #56 has looked for fresh eggs, help put cracked corn and wheat into the feeder, cleaned the nesting boxes adding fresh wood chips.I love the Botjoy art project, I was imediately drawn to the figure .Concept is exciting especially with neighborhoods needed a feeling of
connection to one another….. thanks…..”
Sisters Bring Joy!
Internet Radio! Bot #38 was found twice this time by Kristin C. “I found this JoyBot # 38 at Clarklewis and gave this to my friend Katie A.What brings me joy is an internet radio station I DJ with my friend Katie A called 3 Naked gurlz on the radio found at the station www.praradio.org. Every week I look forward to spending time with Katie, playing music and talking about life.Gary, thanks for this project. I truly did find my joybot on a sad day and it brought me much joy”.
Bots # 177, 197, 181, 188 found on Hawthorne St. and #174 on 37th St. all by the same Family, here is the email they sent:
What brings Portland joy? Well, actually, the Joy Bots do!
After we found one of your joy bots coming out of the Pete’s coffee store on the Hawthorne Street, my two daughters and I spent a few hours day before yesterday running up and down the street looking for more joy bots. We found 5! It was so much fun, like a scavenger hunt. Then my girls spent all afternoon playing with them. When I showed them your web site, they spent all evening dreaming up ideas what brings them joy. Then they got really excited about making their own bots – creature bots, bee bots, mystical bots, BFF bots etc… They fell asleep happy with joy bots under their pillows. It was a summer day filled with joy!!
Thank you so much!
We will pass them along for more people to share joy!
P.S. This is what we found:
Me – Joy Bot #174 – “My Bees”
My daughter Kaya (8) – Joy Bot #197 – “my sister”! (I was impressed) and Joy Bot # 177 – “reading Harry Potter books and going to library”
My daughter Anka (5) – Joy Bot #188 – “my family and my stuffed kitten Snowflake”
What a great project!! We had so much fun with it!