This LEGO gumball machine by Anthony Sejourne is adorable. The colorful gumballs, the shiny red body, and of course the accurate spinning crank, make this thing look like the real deal. I wouldn’t be surprised if someone tried to drop a quarter into the coin slot before they realized it was a fake.
You would be forgiven for mistaking this still life scene by J.B.F. as the real deal. In fact, everything here is LEGO (besides the labels, of course), from the finely crafted hors d’oeuvres to the smooth black platter and bottles of craft beer and red wine.
This was built as a tribute to the builder’s favorite wine shop and bar, the Vinochope in Perpignan, France. The selection of tapas includes olives, cheese and what appears to be papas arrugadas – a delicious Spanish specialty of which I am quite fond. Even in bricks, this spread looks good enough to eat.
Godzilla is an iconic beast who first appeared in Ishirō Honda‘s 1954 film Godzilla and has remained a feature of Japanese pop culture ever since. There have been many builders who have created a LEGO Godzilla, but this version by 62778grenouille really caught my attention. Firstly, it’s huge. And secondly, it has been built in the most extraordinary manner, using Technic parts that seem to flow into the shape of Godzilla.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paul Hetherington and take a tour inside his head to see how he invents such fantastic creations. Our readers will recognize him as the builder of our Creation of the Year 2016, Gotham Theater Showdown, but his creations span a much greater range in subject and technique than many people may realize. Let’s get to know Paul, shall we?
TBB: Can you give us a little background on how you got into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Paul: I’ve been into the LEGO hobby since before you could reasonably use the word “classic” to describe old space and castle sets. I bought my first set as an adult in 1991, which was the Space M-Tron Pulsar Charger. Little did I know back then that I had just taken the first step on an epic journey — one that would introduce me to so many amazing people, and have my LEGO creations be recognized around the world. Because back in 1991, as far as I knew, I was the only crazy adult who bought LEGO sets.
There are so many things that inspire me to build. My first creations were just built for my own enjoyment, as there was no way to share them. Then when the internet came along, all of a sudden a local LEGO club formed which I joined. From that point I had a reason to build. The first years of creating were mainly spent recreating local buildings, trains and hot rods for train shows and museums. I found I really enjoyed doing research to ensure that my creations were historically accurate and to scale. I soon became inspired to add some fantasy elements into my creations. I discovered Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the works of Antoni Gaudi. Theme parks, Mardi Gras floats, and parades were also a great source of inspiration.
More recently, I had the pleasure to work with the artist Douglas Coupland on an installation and came to the realization that Lego has a place in the Art world. I find the Surrealists, especially Dali, and Pop Art, and Comic book art to be particularly inspiring. In recent years my creations have had more of an artistic twist and I see myself going more in that direction. Architecture will always be at the heart of what I do and is usually the catalyst for my creations.
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.
One of the best creature builders out there, Japanese builder aurore&aube graces us with his skills once again, this time with an incredibly accurate representation of an Orcinus Orca. It appears the builder has used cut stickers as the white facial features of the killer whale, which captures the characteristic look of this marine mammal perfectly. Aquadynamic shaping is generally not easy to recreate in LEGO, but if I were to trust anyone with this challenge, this builder would probably be at the top of the list.
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.
At first look, these flowers by Theo Guilia look rather nice. They are made from LEGO but nothing too strange or odd about their appearance from afar. The reality is that they are both made up of parts that would not be a first choice for creating a flower in the hands of most builders. The sunflower petals are bananas, the central portion of the sunflower is an afro hairpiece and the leaves are a mix of elf hats and green frogs. It sounds more like a recipe for witch’s brew than the parts to build a LEGO sunflower!
The second flower is a pretty blue cornflower. It uses Bart Simpson’s head as the central portion of the flower with the old-style plastic capes as petals. Those elf hats make another appearance as leaves to complete the flower. How strangely effective.
LEGO certainly brings out the creativity in people. I’ll never look at an elf hat the same way again…
(These shoes suck) No really, these LEGO shoes by Aaron Newman rule! Aaron based his design off of a super-expensive and ultra-rare pair of Nike high-tops from the 1990s. These kicks are stylish enough to impress even the most hard-core of sneaker heads. And for those of us who can’t afford the originals, these amazing LEGO replicas would suit us just fine.
I’ve been blogging about archaeological LEGO for nearly 10 years here on The Brothers Brick, but I think this Sahelanthropus tchadensis skull might be the first fossil hominid we’ve featured here. Grant Masters has recreated the Toumaï skull discovered in Chad by French and Chadian paleontologists in 2001 and 2002. Grant has built the distinctive heavy brow ridge common to all but the gracile Homo sapiens, along with the angled face and tiny brain case — only about the same size as modern chimpanzees. I love that Grant even reproduced the fossil’s snaggletooth look with all its missing teeth.
Isotopic analysis revealed an age of about 7 million years for this remarkable fossil. While it’s not clear whether this is a distant ancestor or a distant cousin of humans, it was a remarkable find nevertheless.
(If you want to learn more about human origins and paleoanthropology, you might enjoy my Paleolithic reading lists on my non-LEGO blog.)
They say that dance is sculpture in motion. It follows, then, that a frozen moment of dance is an ideal subject for sculpture. This exquisite LEGO sculpture of ballet dancers from David Hughes reminds me of physics class. When I look at it, I see little force vector arrows showing weight distribution, gravity, and muscle mechanics. As it would be in real life, the ballerina’s weight is fully supported by her partner: her toes touching the ground are a mere formality. Based on a famous photo of ballet star Tanaquil Le Clercq, who was tragically stricken by polio at a young age, this large sculpture contains over 3,000 bricks, and it’s amazing how few of them are attached to the base.
In June, French artist Mat Green amazed us with a pair of life-size LEGO minifigures made of steel. Those figures, named Hugo and Pablo, were a classic minifigure and a punk rock LEGO skeleton. Mat has now finished his next project — more classics you’ll surely recognize, the pirate Sparrow and his parrot Jacquot. We spoke with Mat about his work translating these iconic LEGO figures to life-size metal sculptures.