Lego Art | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios

Lego Art | Off Book | PBS Digital Studios


There’s something just natural about the way
two Lego pieces click together. It just feels right. For that moment those two things
are perfect and they’re meant for each other. With the lego you can create art, you can create films, you can create models. You can make something functional. You can make something that
you can wear. Everyone has snapped together a lego brick at one time or
another. It’s such a great feeling to hear that click. Lego has a.lways been a big part of my
life It’s something very tangible. It’s less
austere than an oil painting or a bronze sculpture and because of that it connects
with people in a way that I think art is supposed to. If you look at a computer screen it’s
just a bunch of colored squares if you zoom all the way in. And so I thought,
well, you could do that with lego bricks. You can create a mosaic, so I decided
that i was going to take this to another level. I’ve done portraits of a mother and
child together or a father and a child together and they’re so powerful because you can see the bond
between a parent and a child. I need to make it special to you. I need this to reflect
what’s inside of you and than somehow get that on to the canvas. I suppose an artist
working in any medium has this challenge but then I only have thirteen colors to do it
with. Recently I put together an exhibit that’s touring botanical gardens around
the United States that’s showing kids plants, insects, birds in a new way. And I
created twenty-seven larger than life sculptures that use almost half a
million lego pieces. It took my team and I five thousand hours to put all of these
sculptures together, some of which are as huge as an eight-foot tall hummingbird
all the way through to a life-size polar bear. Now you’ve got kids wandering around
botanical gardens that would otherwise never be at a botanical garden which is also really great. Whether it’s the message of what my particular piece is saying to you or
simply the connection that you have with the piece because of your connection
with lego, suddenly you’ve bonded with this in a way that you may not have if it was
perhaps the same story told in a different medium. That is really special. It helps bring people out
who otherwise might not be looking at art and then speaking to them in a special way. Every little thing you can think of,
Lego has a means or a way or a shape and a color to create that, if you so desire. I went to college for film but I realized there were a lot of
limitations to shooting live action film. So the legos are just a medium for me
to get what I want to create across. I really really love the video
game culture and I made a film called Bricks of War, based on Gears of War. So I made a two minute video basically emulating what it was like to play Gears of War; the behind the shoulders view, the cameras zoom in. So whenever I’m setting up a shot I look
at every little aspect of it; the lighting, the camera movement and I build custom dollies
to move the camera. When I saw Call of Duty Three coming out, I took their launch trailer and i said hey, let me try to recreate this.
It was a lot of fun because it gave me so many things to work with. We have a train car rolling in a subway system and I had to represent different countries. Right now I’ve been using cotton balls to make explosion effects and things. The little characters, they have
pivots, they have joints and you can really get across not only movement but motion, too, with the lego. It’s almost
perfectly made for stop-motion animation. There are films where I make it up
beforehand or there are even sometimes where I make it up as i go. Every film is
different and it’ll take anywhere between six weeks, sometimes it’ll take three months. Lego opens up all possibilities. I can literally create anything I want and I love everything about it. people can relate to lego because they
have this connection to it, they have it at home. I think there’s something about
that. I really wanted to create sculptures that hadn’t been seen before, you know, almost take the lego element out of it. There’s a sculpture called “My Boy” where
it’s a figure holding a small child figure in its arms. When I debuted this
sculpture at a museum, a woman started crying. She was not seeing this as a toy,
she was just seeing it as art. When I get to follow my passion and
create art for myself, it is a lot of art that’s about
metamorphosis. It’s about transition, it’s about liberation. There’s a piece called “Yellow” where this
figure is tearing his chest open and lego bricks are spilling out all over and people have said, is this about
agony? What is this piece about? For me it’s about opening oneself up to the
world. “Red” was a piece I did about transition. You
see this figure and it’s emerging from this pile of bricks and is he reaching to the sky or is he sinking into the brinks? I actually don’t really reveal. I want the
viewer to have a role when they’re looking at the art. I was trying to put my emotion into my
work, really create these sculptures that really had something to say. The fact that it’s made out of lego, it
opens the art world up to this whole new audience that may never even
think about taking a Saturday and going to an art museum and yet
because it’s made out of lego, they’re drawn. There’s nothing you can’t create with
lego toys and so every day is something new, something different, something fun.
How many toys can you really say that you can say I can create anything. It just has that broad span of all
spectrums. We’re really seeing a lego art movement that’s emerging. More and
more artists are using lego as a traditional medium and I think it’s
amazing.

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