A few weeks ago I took my eldest two boys to see a ‘Lego-tastic’ talk and demonstration by the one and only (previously mentioned in this blog) Duncan Titmarsh (the only UK Lego-certified professional). Ohh we were very excited about going indeed.
This talk was held in a rather hot and sweaty social club in the suburbs. We found ourselves sitting with like-minded Lego fans and their children. The hall was packed. It was as sell-out.
Upon arrival we were all provided with an armful of Lego and a flat Lego base. Before the talk started the room was buzzing with the clicking of Lego-piece against Lego-piece as everyone felt compelled to build and create. The boy sat next to me made a really rather stunning ice-cream cone. I made an extremely pathetic stick man.
The talk and demonstration consisted of a PowerPoint slide show of what Duncan’s company do, how they started, some of the commissions they have worked on, and how they make their Lego sculptures from the most basic to the most complicated.
We were then invited to partake in a Lego challenge – make a sphere out of Lego. This was not at all easy and I found myself getting quickly quite cross with the Lego pieces not behaving as they should. I think my problem was that I didn’t consider the project logically and I didn’t have a plan. I just tried to make a ball out of Lego. It didn’t work. The best result came from someone who had devised a method before he started and had carried out his plan with logic.
Finally we had a question and answer session. I was dying to ask: Do you dream in Lego? But I didn’t.
This all got me pondering once again about whether Lego-art is really art, or sculpture, or just a sort of, albeit very sophisticated, ‘colour by numbers’. The way that Duncan described their methods of designing and building the models came across as deliberate and logical. He seemed to me to be more engineer than artist. Most of his work is by commission and it seems that most of the sculptures he creates are replicas of an object, such as a toothbrush, a handbag, a jet engine. They take planning and fore-thought. A lot of the work is actually quite boring and labourious.
However, the sculptures, or models, are extremely impressive. They take hours and hours to build. I still think it is art. Whatever the method, whether it be spontaneous or mechanical, he is creating something out of a building material, something that has interest and beauty. I admire Duncan Titmarsh for his dedication and passion. He seemed to live, breathe, and dream in Lego. He should have been made of Lego. In fact, I should suggest that his next commission is a Lego Duncan Titmarsh.
Attendance at ‘Lego-Tastic’ with Duncan Titmarsh, Sunday 5th May 2013