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Nathan Sawaya - Artist - LEGO Sculptures
I took my daughters, 3 and 5, to see an exhibition of the work of Nathan Sawaya, an internationally acclaimed LEGO artist. His sculptures are made entirely of LEGO bricks and they range from recreations of everyday objects to whimsical flights of fancy and some deeply emotional pieces as well. This exhibit was titled “Replay”, as he emphasized the use of recycled LEGO bricks in some of his works.
NOTE: I must apologize in advance for the quality of the pictures – I stupidly forgot to bring my camera and these pictures were taken with my cell phone. Yes, I had permission to take pictures of the artwork.
Nathan Sawaya's LEGO sculptures (click on any of the pictures to see a larger image)Click thumbnail to view full-size
Nathan Sawaya used to be a lawyer, but he found that sitting on the floor and creating sculptures is what made him feel more comfortable, rather than negotiating contracts, so he ultimately became a full time artist.
Sawaya does as other artists do – he takes a common medium and turns it into something new and different. The main difference is that instead of using clay, metal or paper, he uses a toy. He enjoys seeing people’s reactions to artwork that is created with something that they are familiar with.
Everyone can relate to LEGOs, which can be found in many homes everywhere. His current favorite subject is the human form. A lot of his work suggests a person in transition, which he claims represents him and the metamorphoses he is experiencing in his own life.
The artist describes his art as: “The fundamental purpose of my art is to captivate people for as long as I can keep their attention. I strive to create artwork that is interesting and that is unlike anything that they have seen before.”
He intentionally makes the subject matter of a lot of his work steeped in emotion, mixed with lightheartedness and whimsy; this makes families and children – people of all ages – attracted to his work.
Well, his work was certainly unlike anything I had seen before, and I was totally captivated by how terrific his works were – the detail was incredible!
Sawaya describes the LEGOs as bricks that have clean, distinct lines and right angles which are distinctive up close, yet the right angles and distinct lines change to curves from a distance – as so often in life, it is a matter of perspective.
There is a little more to the process of creating this artwork than just snapping the bricks together. Like many sculptors, Nathan Sawaya begins a piece by making a preliminary sketch. He even created his own graph paper to translate his sketches into LEGO reality.
The beauty of LEGO bricks is that they are designed to be taken apart and re-used. The drawback for an artist like Nathan Sawaya is that the LEGOs are designed to be taken apart. He has created a special glue to make his sculptures permanent; each brick is glued in order to assure the piece’s structural integrity. When looking at the pieces in this exhibit I wondered how the pieces were moved across the country and remained intact!
In the next room, the Art and Culture Center had several tables that were covered in LEGO pieces for anyone to sit down and create their own pieces of art.
They even had a pedestal that you could display your sculpture on when completed. It was easy to look at the sculptures in the other room and think to yourself, “Hey, I could do that.” Not! Yes, I tried. That’s all I’ll say about that.
It was a fun, engaging, and creatively stimulating experience for all of us.
Inspired to create your own LEGO art? Start here...