Today I’ve been thinking about Lego. And thinking about Lego made me wonder whether there are any Lego artists in the world and google introduced me to Nathan Sawaya. Sawaya is a New York-based artist who creates large-scale sculptures using only Lego. Sawaya has created some amazing sculptures, including a seven-foot-long replica of the Brooklyn Bridge and a life-size tyrannosaurus rex. His signature pieces include human form sculptures titled ‘Yellow’, ‘Red’ and ‘Blue’.
His work is described as a fusion of pop art and surrealism.
There are also a few other Lego artists in the world (the posh term for one of these people is LCP – Lego Certified Professional – defined as a person whose business is based around the use of Lego). In fact there are thirteen certified Lego artists at the moment, one being Sean Kenney who owns around two million Lego bricks and also Rene Hoffmeister who in 2002 started 1000steine-land in Berlin. The event, which over the past five years has been attended by more than 10,000 LEGO fans, is an annual exhibition of models by European Lego builders. Another Lego artist is Dirk Denoyelle, a Flemish comedian who created the heads of thirty famous Belgian and international people out of Lego.
There is just one UK Lego certified artist, Duncan Titmarsh. He is a Lego artist but also has his own business Bright Bricks. Duncan’s latest project has been to create a huge advent calender out of Lego to be displayed at London’s Convent Garden.
I’m not sure what I think of Lego art. It seems quite restrictive. There are a finite number of colours that can be used and ways to assemble the bricks into a given shape, and nothing I’ve seen seems terribly original (except perhaps some of the work of Duncan Titmarsh). I might try to make a ketchup bottle out of Lego, just for fun. That is, if my son has enough red bricks under his bed.
Nathan Sawaya at the Agora Gallery, http://www.agora-gallery.com//artistpage/nathan_sawaya.aspx [last accessed 23 December 2012]
Sean Kenney’s website, http://www.seankenney.com/artwork/ [last accessed 23 December 2012]
Lego website, http://aboutus.lego.com/en-gb/lego-group/programs-and-visits/lego-certified-professionals/ [last accessed 23 December 2012]
BBC News item, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-18895045 [last accessed 23 December 2012]
BBC News item December 2012, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-20798476 [last accessed 23 December 2012]
Brickset website interview with Duncan Titmarsh, http://www.brickset.com/miscellaneous/articles/lcp/ [last accessed 23 December 2012]
Nathan Sawaya’s work is impressive, thanks for introducing me to it. I love the swimmer and this one: http://brickartist.com/img/gallery/career-architecture-4.jpg
I think you may be wrong about the limitations. Admittedly there are limited number of colours of brick, but sometimes that can force you to come up with innovative ways of combining colours for effect. In the end, it’s a sculpture, not a painting, and you’re trying to make a shape that conveys a thought. Making that shape with a child’s toy adds another layer of reaction from your audience.
You make a good point, sometimes being limited does force you to think beyond the restraints. I’m going to try to make a ketchup bottle out of Lego today – I think it may be quite a challenge.
Becky, I would not necessarily call him a Lego artist but there is a chap who has created both the old and the New Testament of the bible in Lego form and has published them in two editions, both of which Oliver has an loves. He has his own website which is fab xx
Thanks, Rebecca. This is all amazing stuff! I’m fascinated with the idea of ‘Lego art’.
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