Ask A Lemur – Art, History, and the Dark Ages

lemurbrickchewHello, everyone!

This week has been so great! Andrew forgot to yell at me, and even asked me to grab him coffee. And you know what’s amazing? I didn’t mess it up! Josh was so proud. He decided I’d be allowed to “help” with the “Battle of Bricksburg” display for BrickCon! He says I’m not allowed to chew on any bricks though. I’m not sure how much I’m going to like that.

My minion training seems to be going well. Caylin just hits her face with her palm and sighs really loud, and tells me to do it again. She says if I don’t get it soon, then I’ll have to help Ralph clean up his lab. I’d rather not, cause the last time I did that I ended up with an extra tail. It was red! Simon joked about shipping me to BrickNerd.

Okay, time for this week’s questions!

Do you think LEGO is an art medium?


I use it all the time! To paint with, as a nice garnish for dinner…but I think you mean ART art. Well, yes. Yes I do. Here’s the thing with artists: they’ll use whatever medium is available or preferred. For some people, its traditional media, like paint, clay, stone, etc. Other artists use non-traditional media, like found-objects. Others create things like music and theater. Why can’t LEGO be an artistic medium, too?

What are the Dark Ages?

The Dark Ages is a historical period typically used to describe the time between the fall of Rome and the European Renaissance and Age of Enlightenment. I don’t often get history questions on here!

Oh. Wait. Not those Dark Ages.

In the LEGO hobby, AFOLs refer to the Dark Ages as that time between when you play with LEGO as a kid and when you pick it up again as an adult. These are usually brought on by things like puberty, girls or boys (depending on which you prefer), peer pressure, school, and foraging for food the first time. Sometimes, after re-entering the hobby as an adult, you sometimes find yourself entering a “Gray Age” when you’re still very much into LEGO, but you don’t have the time for it you need. Gray Ages come from major life events like moving, work responsibilities, grooming, marriage, divorce, children, and grad school. Sometimes all of it at once!

I often see non-AFOLs lamenting that current Lego sets “have too many specialized pieces” etc. Can you point me to a resource that debunks this?

I personally blame Jack Stone for this. Actually, everyone at The Brothers Brick blame a lot of things on Jack Stone. And Galidor. I tried chewing on some Galidor pieces once, but I got sick. But going back further, of COURSE there have always been specialized pieces. How else did kids make cars without wheels? There were those awesome old gears, too. Oooh! Fabuland! There are the windows and doors, not to mention those really nifty old plastic trees, cars, and people that were all part of the LEGO system of play.

There have always been specialized pieces. Our friend over at New Elementary wrote a really good piece on this last year, and like all of his stuff, it’s well written and researched, so I’d say it makes an excellent resource.

5 comments on “Ask A Lemur – Art, History, and the Dark Ages

  1. The Royal Brick

    Hello, Sir Lemur!
    I am a big fan of your work!

    As a founding member of the online LFOL community, I was wondering if you have any advice for authors of small blogs about reaching out to target audiences. In my case, I’m trying to reach out toward the LEGO community more (Most of my readers are Non-FOLs), but with very limited success. Any advice would be very much appreciated.

    As a related question, where should I inquire about having my blog added to the TBB blogroll?I have been writing it for a little over a year, but I cannot find a good way to contact any of the contributors without asking on a completely unrelated post (such as this one).

    Thank you so much for eating… sorry, reading all of the mail and answering our questions!
    ~The Royal Brick

  2. Ultralight

    Gotta tell you guys…the Lemur thing is wicked weird. It’s hard to follow “his” satire. It’s like someone thinking really fast about jokes that are only funny if you are half baked after attending a brick fair.

  3. Chris

    @Ultralight: We’re pretty weird here, so the Lemur fits right in! As for following his sense of humor, of course your mileage may vary, but I think the Lemur is generally pretty informative, jokes aside.

  4. bruce n h

    Hey LFOL,

    If I may make some suggestions on getting your brand out there from an old-time brick blogger:

    -Don’t be a flash in the pan. If readers know that your blog will have new stuff often, they will come back.

    -Try and create your own niche in the LEGO blog world. Don’t just try to recreate the things you see on other blogs (e.g. don’t simply be an ‘all things cool’ blog as the Brothers-Brick has that covered), but have your own thing. This might be deeply covering a specific theme or style of building, or it might be presenting detailed set reviews, or it might be speaking directly to a particular demographic, or it might just be the humor or other stylistic elements you bring to your posts.

    -Be active in various online forums, both LEGO and non-LEGO. Don’t just join a forum to advertise your blog (as a forum admin myself I hate it when people join just to promote their blog, or LEGO Ideas project, or whatever, without actually participating in other discussion), but make your blog known. The best way to do this is if the forum allows you to have a link to your blog in your signature line.

    -When you blog someone’s creation, leave a comment on their Flickr or MOCpage saying “Great MOC! I blogged it on -link-Royal Bricks-/link-“. That accomplishes three things – it makes the builder feel good that their stuff is being noticed, at a minimum it gets that builder to check out your blog, and other people who see that MOC on Flickr or MOCpages will also check out your blog.

    -When you blog something you first saw on another blog, be sure to include a line saying you first saw it on -X- (Brothers-Brick, BrickNerd, etc). It’s just polite and also encourages others to link back to you as well.

    I can’t say I’ve been very good at these things myself in the last few years (see the discussion of a gray age above) (btw, lemur, I’ve always seen that called a ‘dim age’), but I found things like that helpful in establishing myself oh so many years ago.

  5. Mr. Cab

    Have the TBB bloggers ever considered covering new techniques in addition to cool MOCs and Lego-related news? I think it would be awesome if TBB had something like a monthly technique showcase.

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