We are all born winners. Right from the start, we can say that we have won our first race. Kosmos Santonas has captured that first race in nature in LEGO using the Panel 4 x 4 x 13 Curved Tapered with Clip at Each End to shape the little swimmers’ heads. The grayscale palette and some nice lighting really help these fun little guys look their best on their big day.
If you watched PBS’s Joy of Painting back in the 80s and early 90s, you’ll probably recognize BrickinNick‘s most recent creation. If not, I’ll give you a few hints. This icon was known for his soft voice, his permed afro (which BrickinNick captured perfectly in LEGO brick), and his positive outlook on life. Bob Ross also taught me that there’s nothing wrong with having a tree as a friend.
What started out as a dare to find a use for the giant technic gears from LEGO’s 2003 Hailfire Droid set has turned into this charming LEGO representation of a picnic in the city. Inspired by fond memories of summer bike rides, Canadian builder Mel Finelli has made ingenious use of many unusual parts to create an almost photorealistic scene. From the reproduction vintage ’30s LaFrance bicycle, retro radio, wicker basket full of goodies and Kensington lamp post, every component of this build demands closer examination to truly appreciate the techniques and finer details. No wonder then that this build won Best in Show when it debuted at BrickCan 2017 in Vancouver last month.
Actually, this amazing recreation of a gourmet dinner is made by a Russian builder (and cook!) Timofey Tkachev, but the “Danish influence” is unmistakable. All the food is very realistic, with many subtle detailing that reveals Timofey’s professional background. His favourite drink is also obvious from the amount of effort put into the beer bottle and glass. Although the concave shaping of a dinner plate is infamously hard to build in LEGO, but the builder cleverly solved the problem by making the plates “fancy”.
There is a subtle detail in this creation, because when viewed from above, the scene spells the abbreviation of the Russian LUG (although in Cyrillic and very subtle, so not many casual viewers are likely to catch it).
It’s perhaps surprising we don’t see more LEGO building inspired by Cubist art. Bricks would appear to lend themselves perfectly to the style. This unique series of character models by Korean builder Amida Na are an unusual take on building which relies on perspective and point-of-view, creating an interesting intersection between confusion and beauty. This isn’t the first time Amida has messed with our heads: The “folded space” of his previous cubist train set was also the inspiration behind these new creations.
The build of Goku left me trying to process whether it was front facing or back facing – when it doesn’t really matter! In fact, the effect is strange. You immediately know what you are looking at, but are bewildered because it looks so odd. Then you are attracted deeper into understanding the model’s construction. The style is likely to evoke a different reaction in each viewer — but it rewards contemplation, seeming to yield up new details.
Amida describes the technique as eliminating the least important dimension, as many objects are distinguishable from their silhouette alone, especially character builds. What remains is a two-dimensional form, folded into itself to give it a sense of depth. The process of folding gives an aesthetic value of extruded facets, and from a practical standpoint it’s a good way of having the builds stand upright. Captain America is immediately recognizable, but also totally different from any other Cap’ model you’ve seen before.
Delving deeper into the artistic aspect of LEGO building, Timofey Tkachev follows up his previous build of a blood fountain with a strong image of spring rain, which has a very impressionist feel to it. The composition makes for a very powerful image, with contrast between colours and textures drawing the eye to the man holding his umbrella over the kneeling girl. The best part has to be the difference between the rain drops above and below the stone platform, which makes the rainfall look very dynamic. While the rockwork could be less repetitive, I think it blends in with the textured background well, making for a very consistent creation.
When you see a surreal and colourful sculpture such as French builder Pistash‘s “Colors in da head”, it will obviously catch your eye. But something else triggered in the back of my mind when I first saw it. There was a subconscious familiarity that drew me to it. Upon reading his description, I realized what that familiarity was. Pistash says that he was inspired by French artist Moebious — in particular, his Hendrix work — and as a teenager one of my favourite posters I had was Hendrix Voodoo Soup, for which Moebious did the cover art.
The Moebious inspiration notwithstanding, I think it is safe to say that as LEGO builders we can all relate to the feeling of ideas and inspiration pouring out of our minds when we build. It is certainly a more welcome feeling than the alternative…the dreaded builder’s block!
Russian builder Timofey Tkachev has been on a roll lately with some great creations, but now he follows up his two lighthearted creations of a man working out and a builder’s living room with this discomforting yet enchanting sculpture of a blood fountain, shaped as a girl.
The grace of the figure is both complimented and contrasted by the sinewy and visceral texture of its body, which may symbolize how close we really are to our darkest side. It is important to point out the stone base as well, which completes the creation and gives it a fantasy feel, reminding me of the aesthetic of Blizzard’s Diablo games.
I understand it is rude not to open a birthday present, but there have to be exceptions, right? Especially when you get literal hell in a box as a gift! Jme Wheeler tells us an idea popped up in his mind and he just had to build it. He also notes that it is his first attempt at building a skull, and I must say it is indeed a great start. The lighting and subtle editing makes for a powerful image that may or may not carry a deeper meaning.
As we reported from Toy Fair in February, the April 2017 LEGO Architecture releases include a redesigned Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum (21035). The new LEGO Guggenheim includes 744 pieces and retails for $79.99.
This latest Guggenheim is a new edition of an earlier LEGO Architecture set released in 2009. We’ll compare the two versions later in this review.
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.
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.