I drove to Palm Springs, California and opened the door, only to be greeted by three beautifully colored robots. I followed the path of mechanical reindeer, arriving at the entrance featuring a gargoyle and gingerbread man, complemented by beautiful golden lights. After a meager $5 donation, we walked into a twisted Wonderland. Magic – both black and white – warmed my soul.
Truthfully, at first I thought I was hallucinating. I just stood there trying to process what I was witnessing. Was this the Nightmare Before Christmas? Krampus’s House? A Christmas themed haunted house? I didn’t really know – BUT – it was all so AMAZING. If you put Transformer alien robots and Christmas glamour together, you would ultimately envision some version of Robolights. Joy to the world for true endless passion.
Frosty did say that he would be back again some day. He just failed to mention that he’d be preserved in a sarcophagus.
While the Islamic sculptor doesn’t celebrate the holiday in the religious sense, I was schooled in secular Christmas. I was slapped over the head with a Trapper Keeper, given an endless supply of sharpened #2 pencils, as I watched an educational video titled, This Is What Christmas Should Look Like – from the dreamer of dreams, Kenny Irwin. Granted he may not think of his display in that sense, but I took the same message of happiness and light attached to red and green hues in my own way.
Many men’s trash literally became Kenny Irwin’s 2 acres of amazingness. From a glance, you might’ve thought this piece was a badass not-to-be-messed-with creature, but when in reality, it’s just “junk” – for a lack of a better word. All of those old vacuum cleaners, tires, drills, toilet seats, computers, and wires had taken it’s true place, morphing into awe-inspiring works of art, just as it should.
From the second I stepped foot in Kenny’s world, I became obsessed and had to know more. I asked him about his creative process, how his imagination came to be realized.
“I am actually not inspired by anything,” Kenny said. “The work I do comes from ideas within generated through my mind. Each artwork is a literal manifestation to the exact detail of what I thought of in my mind. Most the stuff my art is made out is donated by neighbors through the neighborhood of movie colony east here in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas. Each artwork can take from as little as three hours to as much as nine months and range in weight from hundred pounds to apx a hundred tons. The basic premise of ROBOLIGHTS – It’s a why not world in a why world. I choose to instead of cursing the darkness of the world to cast light into the darkness one light at a time in hopes I leave the world in a little better shape then the way I found it. People can follow ROBOLIGHTS at http://www.Robochristmas.com by liking it.”
Without a doubt, I know Kenny has already made the world a much happier and colorful place. In just an hour, he inspired my husband to save our gross pots and pans, claiming he wanted to be just like Kenny and build a pan robot sculpture in our backyard. While I’m rooting for him, more for my home’s aesthetic sake, I doubt I’ll ever see something quite like this anywhere else.
What I truly loved about the artwork, was their demanding worth to take a second look. My mind was blown time after time with the grand strength of each piece but also the layers and layers left to discover.
This artist had to be slightly ever so devious in the best way possible to produce robots and cyborgs with doll’s heads, while somehow adding the innocence of Dora the Explorer, Bob the Builder, and the not-so-innocent victorious Ronald McDonald, complete with sword in hand.
At the end of the day, it was still a holiday, and these robots probably needed to take a break from saving the world/ trying to destroy it and do some normal things. You know, like relaxing in glass, golfing, skiing, riding a carousel, a stocking tank, taking a bike up a tree, or maybe a roller coaster.
Granted, not everything needed to make sense. Art could just be art, without always needing a story or a hidden message. Days later, I’m just sitting here asking myself, “Where did he find so many toilets? But seriously though?”
You could spend $100/person for Disneyland, $40 to see ice sculptures at the Queen Mary, or donate $5 for allowing this man to show off his incredible work. I’m sure sculpting 10 hours a day and igniting 8 million lights is no easy task, so let’s give the man’s dark and light sides some support. Give a small donation or make it rain here. I’d like to be able to enjoy this exhibit for many years to come. I heard in 2016 he’s going to build a literal robot Field of Dreams (I didn’t actually hear that but please come anyway).
1077 Granvia Valmonte
Palm Springs, CA 92262
Open 4:00 – 9:30 during the holiday season
© Faith’s True Tales 2015. All original words and images by Faith Brady.