Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Today I am pleased to introduce you to Orson Li from Hong Kong and Tokyo, Japan of CANBOT.COM and CanBot on on Etsy. These little robots and Dinos are made of cans! I love things that are repurposed and they just feel so retro. His answers to the questions below are so inspiring to me as a person and artist. Please go see his shop for more!

What inspired you to make this product?
I was inspired by the interaction of Art with Recycle. For the design of Canbot (Robot) and Canrex (dinosaur),I have combined the concept of origami and sculpture to create a figure that is built entirely using origami skills ( no screw and glue are used) to create a 3-D object. The material I selected is from the soda can which is made of aluminum. Blending the graphics and colors of each soda can create unlimited versions of Canbot and Canrex. Also the use of Soda Can fits the idea of "Recycle". I hope, through the Canbot or Canrex will remind people that the power of creativity could transform a valueless soda can into a valuable sculpture. The word of "CAN" in Canbot carries 2 meanings; the first "CAN" means it is made from a soda can and the second ”CAN’, means with the power of creativity and determination, you and I Can do anything!

What are your favorite materials to use?
Aluminum. It is soft as paper but firm as metal. It is easy to bend but easy to crack as well. The plate does not stand a second or repeated bend, and I have to make sure that each fold precisely and accurately as there is no chance for a second go.

What is your process in creating your art?
The first thing is to look for the right can. A perfect can is not too easy to find. I have to take careful look along the aisle of the soda drink section at supermarket; contemplate the color and graphics of each soda can would suit well with my design. After I make my choice on the color and pattern, I have to examine the quality of printing and shape of the can, making sure there is no scratch or den on the surface. I loved to collect soda cans from different countries when I travel, and some of the cans are special edition as well. I always carry handy tools with me, so I can cut the can into aluminum plate and carry it back to my studio. At my studio, I have to design the pattern and color matching for each canbot and canrex, it is really amazing that the unlimited combination of colors and pattern you can get from the can and that's the fun part! The next step is to empty the soda by drinking it or just flush it if that's not my favorite taste. Then I will have to sterilize the can and cut it into aluminum plate. After precisely marking each body parts on the plate, I cut them out and assemble according to the design of canbot or canrex. I have spent 3 years to develop and modify the design of Canbot and Canrex into a perfect model.
These design of these figures are based on the triangular prism, which has evolved to be the body of the figure. It has passed numerous testing of endurance and stability for the posture. I began to publish them to the public since late last year when I am sure that my sculptures have reached the state of perfection.

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