Published on November 8th, 2013 | by Charu Suri
12 Legoland: The Art of the Brick Exhibit, by Nathan Sawaya
LEGO typically conjures up images of tiny blocks stacked together into fancy shapes that befuddle the imagination. Colored blocks? Check. Construction? Sure. Now, think bigger, think different- Life-size sculptures. A dinosaur. Or even The Mona Lisa. Sounds unlikely, right? But not for artist Nathan Sawaya who has recreated famous works of art and built some of his original pieces using LEGO blocks. A LEGO obsession that supposedly should have ended in childhood, followed him all the way to college and beyond and can now be witnessed at Discovery’s Art of the Brick Exhibition in Times Square.
Engineering the Wow factor
A Moai warrior at Discovery’s “Art of the Brick”
Rodin’s “The Thinker”
Growing up, my LEGO set was easily one of my favorites in my toy collection. Being able to create an object straight out of my imagination was one of the reasons I enjoyed setting up one block over the next—earnestly anticipating what the end product would look like. I love art in its various forms and its expressive nature has always been exhilarating. Now I understand how the doodling of a young child may not hold much meaning at first, but can translate into an amazing career choice, as was the case with Mr. Sawaya.
I had to go and visit the exhibition after hearing rave reviews from friends. From portraying a swimmer in action to giving a LEGO touch to The Great Sphinx, each and every construction is a special sight, and not out of the LEGO textbook. And if you are one who thinks that LEGO is just for kids, this exhibition aims to change your perception, whether you’re 8 or 80.
Not Quite Pixelated Pieces
The T-Rex lego sculpture is made up of 80,020 pieces, the Mona Lisa, 4,473 pieces, Easter Island’s Moai sculpture,75,450 pieces, Rodin’s Thinker, 4,332 pieces. Sawaya’s original creations include the “Blue Guy Sitting,” made of 21,054 pieces, a portrait of his partner Courtney, 4,125 pieces, and one of his most iconic constructions, “Yellow” with 11,014 pieces. He spent two-three weeks on each piece, and stuck them together with adhesive.
At first glance, these block constructions look like something out of a pixelated picture— all straight shapes and no smooth curves, with critics pointing out this fact. But, squint a little and the lines blur out.You’ll see the constructions coming alive and it’s only then that they really start making sense and developing new meaning. And that’s when you get it—these Lego pieces are so much more than just a collection of pixelated images. This is one man’s extraordinary medium of defining the world around him.
The exhibit will make you take a closer look at these ordinary blocks with fresher eyes. It’s been years since I held a block, but now as I dust off my worn out LEGO set, half-forgotten on a shelf somewhere around the house, a flood of happy memories come rushing back- huddled over the LEGO set with friends, blocks strewn all over the carpet, giving final finishing touches to our custom-made race cars, all ready to race them down the hallway.
Yes, the element of play is contagious. Picasso once said, “it takes a long time to be a kid again.” Sounds like Mr. Sawaya has found his way there.
To get your tickets, visit this site.