It’s hard to define which LEGO models are sculptural and which are just a regular pile of bricks, but we know a good sculpture when we see one — even if it’s a funny cartoon character and not the Venus de Milo.
This week we headed up to our great neighbor to the north to track down Tim Schwalfenberg. Tim lives in Canada, is 21 years old and is currently studying Materials Engineering at his local university. He also likes to publicly smash his LEGO builds too, but more about that later.
TBB: Hi Tim! Can you tell us a little about yourself and your relationship with the Brick?
Tim: Sure! I have found LEGO to be a great creative outlet when I need a break from all my calculus or physics courses. While I’ve been building almost as long as I can remember, it wasn’t until my first year of university that I started to look at LEGO with the intention of making anything beyond the rainbow-warrior spaceships of my earlier years. Through a combination of some inspiring creations I stumbled upon through MOCpages and finding myself with too much free time on my hands, I decided that to try out this LEGO thing more seriously. Thousands of pieces and hundreds of creations later the LEGO hobby has become an incredibly important part of my life. The itch to build has become a constant companion that is easily rewarded by long hours tinkering away on a table-scrap covered table.
Owls are mainly nocturnal, solitary birds of prey who are known for their silent flight. Most birds of prey have eyes on the sides of their heads, but the owl’s forward-facing eyes facilitate their low-light hunting. Shawn Snyder has created a LEGO owl with plenty of attitude and a somewhat impudent glare. This is an owl who knows his position, with those piercing, hooded eyes, sharp talons on show, and wings spread wide in an act of defiance.
That’s a lot of character to be displayed by a brick-built owl – I feel watched.
It’s early, the alarm has just gone off, and you wearily drag yourself out of bed, not exactly rising and shining. I know that I enjoy that first cup of coffee to clear the cobwebs and it seems that Brother Steven enjoys a cup too. What a great combination for fans of LEGO and coffee — a cup of coffee made with bricks. I love the pouring action from the milk carton and the splash into the coffee.
On second thoughts, there is a certain drawback to LEGO coffee… it doesn’t quite hit the mark on taste.
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.
When we last checked in with Tim Schwalfenberg, he’d just completed his massive LEGO diorama of The Last of Us. While considerably smaller, this crumbling statue of a horse and rider — both their heads knocked off ages ago — is no less atmospheric. Although Tim considers this a small build, it still feels like a monumental sculpture that evokes the glory of a long-gone era. The brown sign also adds an air of mystery — what does it mean? Is this in the distant past or a terrifying future?
Valentine’s Day was yesterday, but we couldn’t pass on highlighting this amazing LEGO portrait of a silhouetted couple built by Letranger Absurde. Look closely, because while those black shapes with smoothly curving edges may look simple, they’re actually a complicated conglomeration of plates and slopes facing all directions. The creation is also much larger than it appears at first glance, standing around two feet tall.
I can only assume that Chris Maddison takes excellent care of his LEGO teeth because these chompers appear quite healthy! Just look at those pearly whites (modified 2×3 pentagonal tiles). Firm-looking rosy gums and not a cavity in sight! (I bet money he even flosses.)
The best part about these LEGO teeth is that they even chatter like the wind-up plastic toy Chris’s design was based on. Check out the video below to see for yourself.
We love the art of Tyler Clites for its bold style and perky colors. The way he treats common LEGO pieces always makes his characters vivid and lively, whether it’s some Star Wars protagonists or Tintin’s space rocket. Tyler’s every build has its own mood and a story to tell. And Tyler’s latest set of busts are simply jaw-dropping. This time it’s not just skillful building with LEGO bricks, but the pairing up of characters that makes these works so outstanding…
If 1960s Classic TV Robin saw this build, he’d say the same thing! Batman fan Havoc has done a beautiful sculpt of the Caped Crusader. I particularly like how Batman’s pointed ears are made from 16×4 Triple Curved Wedges. It gives Batman a pointed, sharp, brooding look that fits his persona.
Duke Nukem might hold the gaming industry record for the longest time between announcement and availability, taking a full 12 years to hit store shelves. Although it did eventually come to fruition, it didn’t live up to its expectations generated during the hiatus. Whatever you think of the game, though, LEGO builder Havoc did our action hero justice in translating him from pixels to bricks.
Some hand gestures transcend spoken language. Most likely, the meaning behind these five LEGO hand gestures by Jimmy Fortel are fairly recognizable for most people. (Though different cultures around the world may attribute different meanings to a few of them).
The design of Jimmy’s LEGO hands is simple, yet masterful. The fingers curl gracefully. The palms and wrists are substantial enough to look real at first glance. And the accessory choices for these five hand signs are terrific. Each bracelet invokes a unique identity and accurately depicts the stereotypical person that would use these hand signs.
Isn’t it adorable? Australian builder aldo k has done a phenomenal job sculpting this fuzzy grey nuisance. While the real thing might break your fence or punch you in the face, this adorable rendition makes great use of parts to create the perfect curves for a kangaroo. I particularly love the face: it has so much character! The ears bring it to life.