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Meet Andrea Gellatly

Today we’d like to introduce you to Andrea Gellatly.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
During my high school orientation at Carrollton School, I heard all sorts of whirring, squealing, and thumping coming from the chemistry lab. The sounds became impressively louder as I opened the door to the classroom. I walked inside and found all the tables on their side, forming a sort of gladiator arena in the middle of the room. A student welcomed me while gripping a daunting remote controller that took both hands to operate. I quickly realized that she was controlling a hefty metal machine with shiny black tires and sharp steel teeth that was painted like an alligator. The girls introduced me to Gator, their 120lb combat robot, and answered all the questions I fired at them. I was hooked.

Over the next 15 years, I’ve built all kinds of robots weighing from 150 grams to 250lbs. I’m currently competing on the new season of BattleBots on Discovery channel, where I lead team Witch Doctor against the best teams from around the world. BattleBots is a competition where teams build 250lb robots to fight in a specially designed arena, the BattleBox, in 3-minute matches. At the end of each match, the winner is decided by either knockout or judge’s decision. Witch Doctor is known for its vertically spinning skull weapon and signature skeleton-shaped armor.

Please tell us about your art.
Two years ago, I started MakeMIA Makerspace with my husband and teammate Mike Gellatly. MakeMIA is a nonprofit organization where we provide classes and equipment for people of all ages to learn how to build their own projects. We have 3D printers, a lasercutter, welders, a machine shop, and much more. We strive to create a place where members can learn through hands-on experience. We’ve had a blast meeting so many incredible makers in South Florida! For those interested in building their own robots, we also host local events where you can compete your robot against other builders, just like on the TV show!

Do you have any advice for other artists? Any lessons you wished you learned earlier?
If you’re interested in building your own robot, the first thing you should do is stop by our next competition and chat with anyone that is competing. We have an incredible community of robot builders who are always willing to help newcomers. Then, start building! It can be intimidating at first, and you always feel like there’s more to learn before getting started. The best way to learn is by DOING, so the sooner you give it a try, the faster you will be ready for your first competition!

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
The new season of BattleBots starts June 7th on Discovery Channel! You can follow Team Witch Doctor (@witchdrshaman) on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube, for behind the scenes content as the season airs. If you want to build your own robot, contact us at info@makemia.com and we’ll help you get started!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Jon Bennett @jcrbphoto
Daniel Longmire

Getting in touch: VoyageMIA is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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