This week we talk with Aran Jitsukawa-Hudson (AKA Cole Blaq) about his art, philosophy and his life. Aran was born in Great Britain and grew up in Germany. He lives in Düsseldorf with his wife and three kids, is a cancer survivor, and attended university as an Art History student. We interviewed him 6 years ago here on The Brothers Brick, but there’s a lot to catch up on since then. He is currently running a Kickstarter campaign to publish an art book based on his Enter the Brick series. Let’s go explore the mind of a builder.
TBB: First of all, could you tell our readers a little bit about yourself? What got you into LEGO and what kept you there?
Aran: My real name is Aran Jitsukawa-Hudson, as some might know. My alter ego as an artist is Cole Blaq, which is a reference to a comic character and an adaption to Hip Hop language.
I am British by origin but mainly grew up in Germany. With my wonderful wife being Japanese, we’re a rich blend of cultures! Now I live in Dusseldorf, Germany, which is located at the river Rhine, north of Cologne.
Sometimes all you need to relax is to contemplate a beautifully-built LEGO model. This wonderful bonsai by ZiO Chao deserves your attention — chill out and soak up the serenity. The gnarled and twisted tree itself is nicely-done — with an interesting technique of inserting flower stalks into larger leaf pieces — but it’s the little rock and the display stands which elevate this into brick-built art. I want one of these for my house.
Dohodno Zdanie is an architectural masterpiece with over 110 years of history, art and culture located in the heart of Rousse, Bulgaria. This imposing Neoclassical building can be found in Freedom Square, within the city centre of Rousse, and continues to hold a busy events calendar of theatre, show and art. Thomassio has done an impressive job of capturing this stylish edifice in LEGO, with a host of detailed textures. I really like the tiled roof in between those arched segmental windows, the occasional use of a dark blue tile is very effective. He utilises a good variety of parts use to add texture to this build, Technic gears, 2×2 dishes, turntables and even some handcuffs.
There is a slight Dr. Who twist to Thomassio’s version as he has replaced the winged Mercury statue that appears on the top of the original building in Russia with a Weeping Angel, just don’t catch her eye!
At least, that’s the theory. I think. By the time I’ve had some wine I can never remember what I’m supposed to move on to next. Jimmy Fortel‘s latest might serve as some form of LEGO-mnemonic on my next night out. Regardless of its future usefulness, this creation sees bent tubing held in place with clips, giving a wonderful impression of line art.
This is a brick-built version of the logo of Jimmy’s local bar in Perpignan, France. Apparently they hosted a small exhibition of some of Jimmy’s artwork recently. As such, I think they deserve the LEGO community’s support — the next time you’re in that part of the world, swing past and buy some wine. And then some beer.
This creation of a flayed crucified person by Leonid An is inspired by the eerie works of the Polish surrealist artist, Zdzisław Beksiński. The symbolism is strong in this image, but still leaves everything up to interpretation. Who is this? Does it matter who it is? What happened?
The lines and curves of rotting flesh and sinew are captured very well with the use of minifig whip pieces, horns and more. There is a nice balance of simplicity and complexity in the build, too.
Which one is plastic and which one is paper? Takamichi irie has made a lovely little LEGO crane in the same style as the origami version. Traditionally, it was believed that if you folded 1000 origami cranes, your wish would come true – according to the 1797 book Sen Bazuru Orikake, which translates to “how to fold 1000 paper cranes” and contains instructions for how to make these special objects.
Takamichi’s LEGO version closely resembles the paper one next to it, and is a great way to present this seemingly simple build. A closer look at where the wings and neck join the main body suggests that this was not as simple as it first appears, and I imagine creating 1000 LEGO cranes would be a similar undertaking to folding 1000 paper cranes.
The folded crane has also become a symbol of hope and healing during tough times and therefore is often known as the “peace crane”. The touching story of Sadakos legacy is worth a read if you have a few spare minutes.
We’ve featured several LEGO versions of Relativity over the years, including a traditional staircase scene with great lighting and even a Star Wars version of M.C. Escher’s famous lithograph. But we’ve never seen a version quite like Lårs Kumpfert‘s monochromatic one.
By using only red pieces and intricate Gothic designs, Lårs created a creepy, gravity-defying LEGO scene that would be right at place in a Guillermo del Toro movie.
Gustavo Torner is a Spanish artist known for his abstract sculptures that pepper the urban landscape of Madrid. MSP! delves into the realm of infinity with his take on the Torner’s Mundo Interior. The builder stays largely faithful to the original work while incorporating some unique and necessary differences. Torner’s sculpture has been praised for its bare yet complex design, which explores not just geometry but human reflection and reason.
The impression left by this elegant design is no less thought-provoking when recreated here in LEGO form. As this work suggests, infinity cannot be found just by looking outwards towards the heavens, but also inwards towards the human spirit.
This sinister LEGO creation by timofey_tkachev is simply titled “Arms”, but I’m going to read it as an artistic commentary piece on how we’re all up to our elbows in blood and oil because we use ABS-based building bricks. Regardless of the motivation behind it, this is a cracking bit of LEGO building and a nice departure from the norm. It’s got excellent “posing” and shows particularly good use of the whip antennae pieces as long drips of paint/oil. Not to mention the decent photography of an all-black model — no mean feat (or hands, or whatever).
In a world of spaceships, castles and mecha it can be unclear that LEGO building is a form of art. This is why we have builders like Felix Jaensch, who remind us of the artistic potential of LEGO. The flowers are arranged perfectly with just enough imperfections to look natural. The only part that looks off to me are the leaves, but I do admit it is hard to make them look realistic.
Felix is well known for his simplistic style, mostly using only bricks and plates to accomplish complex shapes, with some of his best work featuring a life sized LEGO mummy, a blue and gold macaw and more recently a very cute red panda. If you like LEGO art, Felix is surely a builder you’ll want to follow.
Someone call an ambulance, there’s been a murder! I find Steven Reid‘s latest scene a little disturbing. Why aren’t the yellow bricks helping? Are they really just going to stand there and watch?
I don’t often post digital LEGO creations, but this one caught my eye, and it doesn’t seem to feature any of the “cheating” which digital builders can succumb to — no impossible connections or parts/color combos that don’t exist.
Don’t lie. We’ve all dreamed of owning a portrait of Grand Moff Tarkin made entirely out of levers. Well, now you can finally have one! Caleb I built this glorious piece of LEGO art for the annual Creations for Charity event over on Bricklink. The portrait also comes with Tarkin’s insignia bars, a kickstand frame, and a wall hanger. See for yourself how good it will look on your wall.