What It's Like to Be an Artist in Residence at Instructables




Recently I joined the Instructables team for two months as an Artist in Residence at the renowned yellow robot headquarters in San Francisco. Being an east coaster from a small town in MD that no one has ever heard of, you can imagine this was quite an adventure. Though the Bay Area was a little chillier and noticeably less full of bikinis than I had originally envisioned (probably mislead by Katy Perry), it warmed up fast and within no time I felt like I had made a new home.

Thanks to some amazing relatives I was able to stay nearby without having to deal with crazy landlords and rent prices.

The Thursday prior to my first week I met with a super excited NoahW at 82 2nd St., who presented me with my new AiR badge and key. He explained how I had just been granted access to the Instructables shop, a nearby Techshop, and a "coming soon" super shop. I then shook hands with founder Eric Wilhelm as he passed by and nervously introduced myself to the team during that day's "Show and Tell" meeting. Before I knew it, it was 10AM Monday morning and I was headed toward my new desk next to fellow AiR newbie M.C. Langer, e-waste robot sculptor extraordinaire. He happily offered me a non-toxic, non-explosive Colombian (not Columbian!) coffee flavored candy, to which I politely accepted despite my unfortunate distaste for coffee (yes I know, it's weird). He had already began working on his first project, a robot lamp made from discarded computer speakers. I hadn't even made it to my desk yet and I was already behind!

After a few minutes of looking around and quietly containing a slight star struck-ness (jessyratfink!!), I retrieved the sketchbook from my bag and promptly began to visualize forms for an iPhone amplification concept I had been dreaming up. There I was, in San Francisco, doing what I loved in a place that just a week earlier I had known only as a far off intangible website of awesomeness. Over the course of the next 7 weeks I became a part of the small, surprisingly quiet yet high-energy, creative culture that is Instructables.

I could tell you about keyboard skateboarding w/ GorillazMiko, Autodesk Design Nights w/ the Instrucables gang, Super Duper Burgers w/ amandaghassaei and randofo, getting my butt kicked at Hive by Carleyy, the ridiculous interoffice email threads, avoiding signatures from the UPS guy, Yerba Buena picnics, pizza Thursdays, milkshake field trips with NoahW, late night Chinese food and laser cutting...but you really had to be there. And you can.

The AiR program allows you to be immersed in an environment where the only thing you need to do is make, but you can do so much more. Whatever your creative pursuit may be, so long as you're passionate, the yellow robot is there to help you make it happen. I would encourage anyone who loves making to apply (now more than ever).The yellow robot has something big up its sleeve (Pier 9) and I can't wait to see what will come out of this program next.

Thanks to everyone at Instructables!

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    7 Discussions


    3 years ago

    The comments alone make me want to drop everything and head over lol. Sounds like an incredible experience shared with incredible people.

    M.C. Langer

    6 years ago on Introduction

    Tim, the office is not the same without you. You were a great AiR! I'm very proud of having a friend like you! Man, YOU ARE AWESOME!