Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Though silenced half a century ago, the voice of this legendary American civil rights activist and leader rings thunderous today; his thoughts still quoted in speeches; the reach of his legacy reflected in thousands of public roads, buildings and spaces across the US that now bear his name. (I am actually writing this from King County, Washington.)
My simple tribute: King’s likeness (taken from a memorial plaque in Berlin) recreated with LEGO parts pushed together but not attached. Despite the progress we’ve made, it seems sometimes that the pieces are there but not all connected…
The title of this work by Leonid An is called Deadline! and aptly depicts the molecular structure of epinephrine (more commonly known as adrenaline) and a shadowed clock with one minute until midnight. I really like the use of the magnifying glass and the T-bars for the hydroxyl groups. This totally takes me back to when I was in college organic chemistry ten years ago — minus the stress of studying for tests!
One of the things I really love about the LEGO building community is how LEGO artists can undermine conventions and subvert expectations. We’ve long maintained the viewpoint here at The Brothers Brick that LEGO is indeed art. Art can be fun, art can be funny, art can be uncomfortable, and yes, art can definitely be political — Nobel Prize for Literature winner Toni Morrison says, “All good art is political! There is none that isn’t. And the ones that try hard not to be political are political by saying, ‘We love the status quo.'” So it’s always interesting to see LEGO artists take on unexpected, difficult, and even uncomfortable subjects. And there is nothing more discomfiting than seeing our favorite LEGO BrickHeadz style applied by Swedish LEGO artist O Wingård to two of the most terrible people in human history — General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin and Nazi Führer Adolf Hitler.
But discomfort should provoke thought, and thought should provoke discussion, and discussion can (but doesn’t always) result in progress. If LEGO is art and all good art is political, then good LEGO creations are (by the transitive property of equality) inherently political. If you’re a decent human being, these adorable BrickHeadz should make you deeply uncomfortable. What does that say about art? About the human condition?
Despite being official pieces, rubber bands are usually hidden away both in official sets and fan creations. While it may be their frequently bright colours or the fact that some see them as “cheater pieces,” we just don’t see them at the forefront of most builds. Bucking that trend is Victor, who has created this clever little chair using a handful of rubber bands and solid red elements to make them blend in. The use of the ribbed hose pieces makes the bands even less noticeable, and all the Technic connectors are rotated just right for a clean shot, with their gaps facing away.
Kinetic art is fascinating to me for both the seemingly impossible nature of its function as well its ability to evaporate a similarly impossible amount of time from the lives of those who are awestruck watching it. This video of a LEGO kinetic sculpture by aeh5040 is sure to entrance anyone who dares press play.
If you’d like to make your own copy of this piece of LEGO kinetic art, you’re in luck. Check out instructions and related materials for this build over on Rebrickable.
We have been enjoying a taste of Italy in a series of photographs by brickexplorer on Instagram. First we take in the view of a gondolier cruising along the famous canals of Venice. I love the combination of natural elements (be that water, sky or earth) with LEGO built surroundings.
Next, let’s stroll through the narrow cobbled streets in the old town. A gatto is eyeing up a crossaint while some washing dries in the sun, what a peaceful scene.
Finally, as the sun goes down, it’s time to relax and enjoy some freshly made stone baked pizza. The lights inside the pizzeria make it seem so inviting, I’m not sure how far people travel to enjoy theis infamous pizza, it looks like a rocket has just landed on the left.
This transparent swan sculpture by alanboar makes for a beautiful LEGO creation. Don’t underestimate the challenge the construction must have posed, despite the lack of complicated techniques on display — the relative scarcity of bricks and plates in trans-clear will have made it much more complicated than you might imagine. The sideways-built blue base adds a welcome contrast and allows the uplit sculpture to really shine.
The stag is a majestic creature, possibly even the European equivalent of the lion as the “animal king”. The majesty of its magnitude is hard to capture, but Joe Perez has managed to recreate it very well in LEGO form. The original intent was to give an impression of motion, but the builder was still quite happy with how the stag turned out static, but proud – and I believe no motion suits a stag better than pride.
Joe has created a great mix of textures by using studs only around the neck and breast, while hiding them nearly everywhere else – the result of which is a dynamic impression of fur. The horns are realistic and legs look just about perfect (possibly even with some room for poseability!). Simply inspired!
Some LEGO fans expect lots of fancy techniques and a wide range of parts used in a creation. While this White flower by Jarekwally has some of that, it focuses on other areas that are just as important, like composition and contrasts.
The shadows give a very mysterious impression, somehow the white flower actually blends with the black background. Different textures are distributed concentrically around the contrasting red gynoecium. The branches reaching out towards the camera emphasize the image’s depth, which could easily be neglected in a build that seems to be very specialized for photography.
If you are asking yourself what exactly this creation by Delayice is supposed to be, do not feel guilty. Take the time to look closely and examine the detail of this strange creature, the Pangolin, that is threatened with extinction. Indeed, it is a living island, an endangered animal and simultaneously a spectre of the four seasons walked by a monochromatic, green minifigure. All this is relevant to the artistic message, as stated by the builder; it is a reminder of how beautiful and diverse nature is and that it should not go to waste.
Now I know I should be asking myself philosophical questions like why is the minifigure walking from winter to autumm? what is the significance of the door on the top? what are the implications of the barrels under the ice? But, what drives me nuts is whether the ice (lined by snow at the shoreline) is supposed to be floating on water or is the animal carrying a piece of ice that it broke from the ice sheet.
Black gold, some call it. This striking piece by timofey_tkachev shows how humanity has drunk this precious resource at an astonishing rate since we discovered its multitude of uses, and with each new miracle we welcomed, an array of troubles followed. From the blazing infernos of uncapped wells to the broken pipelines polluting the ground, Timofey paints a picture of the horror of human technology run amok.
The face of an unknown abomination drenched in black oil springs from the ground beneath the hellish landscape. In the foreground, a streak of oil seeps toward a lighter, inching closer to Armageddon.
Chris McVeigh has built many well-known characters using his brick sketching technique. His latest brick sketch uses layers of curved plates to capture an intimidating portrait of Captain Phasma. The female Captain of the First Order has been crafted using only red, bluish greys and black LEGO parts, yet she is instantly recognisable. As always, Chris has created some lovely angles by layering plates and tiles, giving depth to the build.
If you like this style of building, you will enjoy Chris’ brick sketch self-portrait and brick sketch of Rocket Raccoon from Guardians of the Galaxy. Paddy Blicksplitter also built a portrait of Charlie Chaplin in a similar style.