Fedde: You got to love your monkey – Boilerplate & Beyond Vol. 8 [Interview]

For our 8th installment of interviews with LEGO fans from around the world, Keith Goldman journeys to the land Down Under. Take it away, Keith!

H.P. Lovecraft once wrote “Men of broader intellect know that there is no sharp distinction betwixt the real and the unreal…”

LEGO CthulhuIf that is true, then our man Fedde (Karf Oolhu) must be one broad-minded Aussie. Fedde has a wide open, often comedic style and a large following of fans who look forward to his almost daily offerings on Flickr.

I sat down with Fedde in the 2nd floor cafeteria at Miskatonic University where he is currently employed as an adjunct professor of Astronomy specializing in the search for the ancients. We drank absinthe and talked about X-ray art, Sir John Eccles, and whether or not a new horror can be more terrible than the daily torture of the commonplace.

The Build

Keith Goldman: Your builds are known for the wide variety of elements you employ. Have you ever met a part you didn’t like? Has there ever been an element you wanted to use, but just couldn’t find the right way to use it?

Fedde: No, never met a part I didn’t like, but then, I haven’t met them all yet… Oh, some of those large castle pieces (especially the printed ones) are a bit on the rude side, but I’m sure there’d be a good home for them, somewhere.

LEGO spaceman with aliensPieces I want to, but can’t find a use for as yet? Hard to say.

I do have quite a few packets of pieces I’ve bought on Bricklink, usually as order fillers, things that look cool or different. Most are still in the original packets — I want to use them, but so much other stuff keeps overshadowing them. And quite a few part combos that aren’t able to finds homes yet either.

But to be honest, any part just needs time. An interesting use will appear.

KG: You crank out models at a clip few can match. Is there a reason you favor quick builds to longer, more involved projects? Have you ever hit a creative wall? Do you have a long list of models to call on, or are you more spontaneous?

F: Limited space is a big issue; my smallish bedroom holds basically everything. I do the bulk of my photo shoots on the bed. I’m surrounded by my LEGO, TV, computer, music, my photography equipment; it’s too easy to build, photo and upload within an hour without having to do or move much. I can only really have one decent MOC in progress. Most of my shelves are covered in tablescraps of various types — clear four away, and six try and crowd back in. And spontaneity is a big driver; I’m a very lateral thinking guy. Even when I’ve bought a set because of elements it has for a dio in progress, discovering a new piece will easily create a new build. I have at least a dozen projects all being worked on, in cycle — some will die, some get pushed back by newer growths, some even get photoed and posted. : )

KG: Your models are appreciated in part because they typically have a comedic element. Is there a specific comedian or style of comedy that influences your build?

F: I’ve always been able to see multiple meaning in things, seen the words that are open to misinterpretation, or contain words within words. I love deliberately misinterpreting a MOC’s name or comment; word mis-use is a fun tool.

LEGO Troll Bridge

But I must admit, I’m very fond of the crew of Monty Pythons Flying Circus… And now for something completely different…

More of Keith’s interview with Fedde after the jump:

The Community

KG: Do you think there are any noticeable stylistic differences between builders from different nations? For instance, do Australian builders have their own distinct style apart from Americans or Japanese?

F: To be honest, I simply take each build I see on its own merit, I’ve never noticed or really cared about national differences. That sort of thing leads to wars, annoying little border guards, and import/export taxes.

KG: How interested are you in the statistics of your photos? Are you disappointed if a particular model doesn’t generate the kind of numbers you expect?

F: (Hides head in hands) Yes, I am a stats freak; after checking out any comments I might have gotten, and responses to my own, I’m straight into that stats page — the ups and downs of the graph. the trails of where your views come from. Sometimes, due to your tags, your MOCs end up in some strange places. Like my LEGO/Duplo egg-laying fantasy plant photo’d in the backyard, and appearing in a pesticide products blog site, and there’ve been others. Sensible creative tagging can be your friend.

And there have been flops, or ones I’d had high hopes in, that just sat there — and yeah, I get disappointed, but I usually can understand the reasoning. After all, it’s not life and death, I build first and foremost for myself, the enjoyment and de-stressing values of it, and to generate humour and reactions, and as a whole these are all satisfied.

KG: LEGO-fan conventions are currently suffering from a perhaps terminal case of boilerplate. First, what do you suppose a “Dirty Brickster” event entails? And can you suggest an event within the larger convention to breathe new life into the scene?

F: Having never been to one — Brisbane doesn’t seem to have much in the way of community happenings, conventions or such — I don’t have any real clue as to what occurs. Though if I did attend one, it wouldn’t be all boilerplate then. : )

“Dirty Brickster”, hmmm sounds like something that should be in the “LEGO – Whipping out the Brick” group. If I understand it right, it’s a game, a group play involving “secret” parcels of LEGO of similar value. Not too sure it’s something I’d be interested in, as you’re basically leaving with what you came in with, just now it has different shapes and colours. Oh, I guess it wouldn’t be too bad, just strikes me as something more for the kids, not a major attraction.

Hmm, breathing new life into it… Have members build and bring sections of a large race course (modelled on real one or fictional), and have them, and any other participants build PF racers — standards would be required. Then they could have them organized into heats, winners going on to the next round etc, with a decent prize for the winner, or prizes for the 1st, 2nd and 3rd. Or maybe something gladiatorial with PF battle-bots…
If you look at a railway convention, be it scale trains or LEGO ones, there’s lots of movement to involve spectators, while still having the space for ample static display.

Perhaps sell a bit of advertisement space and use the cash for some really decent prizes, trophies, or such.

KG: Would you say that you have made friends as a result of your involvement in the hobby, and have you met any of them?

F: Definitely, there are quite a few I’ve talked on-line with, and I now often meet up with Aaron (DARKspawn), Tim (gambort) and Al (Captain Underpants), sorry, got to say that again, Captain Underpants….

The Future

KG: Will you be able to build your dream project before Azathoth reaches out from the inky blackness between the stars and claims your sanity? Can you tell us what your dream project is, or is it far too macabre for the Bros. Brick’s more sensitive readers?

F: Ah, the ol’ dream project, had one of those but the wheels fell off it.

It changes over time and experience. Originally, I’d wanted to make a full set of 1:1 scale armour shield and weaponry, using those 2×2 bricks with ball joints and balls for the chainmail, etc etc, costs were and still are the issue. Now days, I would really like to do a good interpretation of Yog-Sothoth, at least about a metre long — have got a start on the pieces I think I’ll need, but getting it to look like something that essentially has no real form, or rather a form upon which you should not look, and not look like I simply poured the parts bin onto the floor and photographed it.

KG: If LEGO went out of business tomorrow, would your interest in the hobby wane?

F: Not a hope. All that means is no more new elements, and there are still heaps of old ones I don’t own as yet, and besides, I haven’t gone through all the combinations of the ones I have.

That’ll takes years — not to mention, it’s too much fun to just put aside… And hey, that’ll raise the value of them as well.

KG: With the exception of our beloved monkey, LEGO animal designs have historically been frustrating to many builders: The odd scale in relation to minifigs, the typically single point of articulation and distinct lack of modularity. What do you think of LEGO animals in general? Do you think the lack of animal modularity is some kind of corporate or possibly religious taboo, and finally give me some LEGO animals you’d like to see?

F: …some kind of corporate or possibly religious taboo… That all sounds like taboo to me, so I’ll just slip on by to the rest of the question.

LEGO rocketeer monkeyIn the short time I’ve been involved with the bricks, animal size has always left me annoyed. Those poor cats — “Get out there Tom and catch some rats, you lazy cat!” — you can almost hear the rats snickering.

But you got to love your monkey, would love him much more if his tail could rotate, and…. if his head was removable….

Animal wish list: chimpanzee [NO TAIL], kangaroo, velociraptor, penguin (just for the “Penguin on the television” Monty Python sketch), squid, a parrot in a flying pose (rod hole underneath). Or just make a new animal available in the LEGO range each year.

And, as a side note: Plants — they could do with a bit of new blood in their range…

5 Boilerplate Questions

KG: If you had to pick only one of your models to go in the great FOL time-capsule, which would it be?

F: It would have to be the ORBITAL ION CANNON, can’t have the future think we gave our kids wimpy toys.

LEGO Orbital Ion Cannon

KG: If you had to pick only one of my models to go into the great FOL time-capsule, which would it be?

F: Glad you asked this twice, make that the WUMP IN THE WOODS, don’t really want to be glorifying war and death (but instead, confusing the golden carp out of them will be okay…?).

KG: If time, money and proximity were not an issue, give me 2 builders besides me that you’d like to collaborate with on a project?

F: I’d be very happy to work with Peter Reid and Cole Blaq. These boys are brilliant, their talent and my lateral insanity — it would lead to some awesome builds.

KG: What’ is your favorite comment or review you’ve ever received on a model?

F: I’ve had a few over-the-top responses, really humbling wow lines. But I’ll not repeat them here, a bit embarrassing I think. Besides which, there are plenty of better builders out there , any creation deserves to be treated with wonder and respect, we all build to our best, and learn and grow along the way, to each there own — have fun — it’s all for the MOC, not the mockery. (Yes, I know rhyme can be a crime.)
KG: And finally, good sir, who controls the action?

F: The Ancient Mystic Society of No Homers, formally The Stonecutters… I thought everyone knew that. : )

7 comments on “Fedde: You got to love your monkey – Boilerplate & Beyond Vol. 8 [Interview]

  1. dshaddix

    I, for one, would like to see that rocket monkey in the time capsule. …or perhaps your entire building space might fit into that capsule. I’m hoping you have some natural light in your ‘LEGO cave’! I feel ya though brother, my build area has similar restrictions.

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