Thanks to an ongoing round of Iron Builder, which sees two contestants pitted against each other to build a variety of LEGO models using a specific element, we’ve been seeing an explosion of builds employing the dynamite bundle, from arcade machines to detailed kitchens. Cecilie Fritzvold, in particular, has been on a roll, sticking that dynamite piece into builds anywhere she can fit it, including into this amazing dragon scroll, where nearly 50 of the bundles make up the twisting body of the beast.
And lest you think Cecilie is cheating by just neatly arranging a bunch of pieces on a tiled baseplate, look very closely and you’ll see that each piece is attached with a clip, meaning you could actually hang this on your wall. Well, except for that brick-built hangar, maybe. The two long black Technic axles that stand in for the string might not be up for the task.
Check out more of Cecilie’s dynamite escapades in our archives: Cecilie Fritzvold LEGO creations
A major problem with the diets of many folks these days is that they do not eat enough fresh fruits and vegetables, instead deriving too many of their calories from highly processed wheat, corn, and soy. There’s nothing wrong with wheat, corn, or soy, per se, but they don’t provide many of the vitamins and minerals necessary for human health. So consider this LEGO build by Barbara Hoel to be a public service announcement: eat your fruits and veggies! Your gut will thank you. Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
This still life is awash with bright colors, with red apples, green, dark red, and purple grapes, orange oranges, yellow pears, and perhaps a dark red plum. Yummy! Organic curves are hard to do in LEGO, but Barbara has done a great job sculpting them. And then there is the tablecloth beneath them all, with every shade of blue imaginable featured. Someone must have invested in some LEGO DOTS sets! If only the background were black velvet, this would look great surrounded by a gilded frame and hanging on the wall of my dining room, reminding me to eat my fruits and vegetables.
Due to the tragic murders of George Floyd, Manuel Ellis, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and far too many other African-Americans, racial injustices that Black people experience every day have come to the forefront of white consciousness once again. We’ve been examining how this very real-world issue affects the hobby we participate in, not just for a moment in time but on an ongoing basis. Earlier this week, we sat down with Canadian artist Ekow Nimako, whose LEGO work we’ve featured several times, including his stunning Flower Girl sculpture and wonderful Beasts from Bricks book.
Our conversation with Ekow covered his experience growing up playing with LEGO, interactions with the LEGO hobbyist community, the Afrocentric and Afrofuturist themes of his artwork, and how LEGO communities such as The Brothers Brick can operate more inclusively.
We ask you to watch the full video before reacting with comments. While the reaction from some quarters to recent statements we’ve made that Black Lives Matter has been dismissed as “political” and some reactions have been outright hateful, by and large the response from the LEGO hobbyist community has been empathetic and supportive. Nevertheless, there is much more to be done. A number of our readers have rightly pointed out The Brothers Brick’s own contributor list as one area where we can improve, asking us to work harder to recruit a more diverse team while highlighting more non-white builders and highlighting the LEGO creations of people of color. As I committed to during the video conversation with Ekow, one of our next steps will be to kick off a new round of contributor recruiting to improve our own diversity and better represent the community we are a part of.
This week, we have guest writer Jonah Schultz who has been a fan of LEGO since he was 3 years old and became more active in the community again in 2015. He is a student of medieval and modern history and French literature and is very much into photography. He also enjoys learning about other people’s outlook on the hobby and marvels at the diversity, creativity, and warmth of the community.
Storytelling and LEGO are two terms that go very well together, don’t they? Indeed, both the LEGO Group and LEGO enthusiasts have made storytelling a key element to creating with LEGO bricks over the years.
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Here at The Brothers Brick, we’ve taken “political” stands on matters of peace and justice for as long as the LEGO building community has created LEGO art that communicates an important message, whether that message was in support of marriage equality way back in 2006 or freedom of discourse in response to the Charlie Hebdo massacre in 2015. Dave Kaleta joins a chorus of people around the world who choose not to remain silent in these excruciating, infuriating times.
From a LEGO build perspective, Dave uses largely disconnected white slopes, tiles, and plates to surround solidly attached black bricks. Dave also leverages the new range of small curved tiles to create the lettering along the bottom of the mosaic. But the build and its techniques are hardly what grab my attention.
A few thoughts on the intersection of LEGO, art, politics, and privilege
In the beginning, there was Brick, and it was good. It was smooth, perfect, and devoid of all color. Then one day, a great rumbling was heard deep within the brick and a wonderous sloshing sound. With a mighty crack, golden yellow life burst forth from the brick and spilled color into the universe. So goes the legend of the first Minifig, captured in all its glory by Andreas Lenander
Up next from TBB Auctionhouse, we have this magnificent piece, “Canvas Warrior”, ABS on canvas, by the brilliant artist Markus Rollbühler, circa 2020. Bidding will start at $1M. Do I hear one? You, with the itchy nose. Please note the American Western style, with the Native American astride a horse, riding out of the picturesque Rocky Mountains. Do I hear two? Ah, you, scratching your eyebrow. Note the rippling pectorals, made from a LEGO minifigure torso. This could be the cover of the latest Nora Roberts novel. Do I see a hand for three? You there, lady with the cough, yes. Three million. This is a fine example of stereotypical Wild West art, folks. There’s buckskin fringe, a rifle, even some scrub bushes. Four million, from you, Mr. Itchy Nose. Wonderful. Five? Do I hear five? The impressionistic landscape even includes some plesiosaur flippers. And that horse! It will leap out and impress all your guests? Five! Yes, you on your smartphone. Five million! Going once, going twice, sold!
The mustachioed surrealist artist Salvador Dali inspired this stunningly spindly pachydermal presentation from Dutch builder Jaap Bijl. This was an entry for Innovalug’s ongoing Style It Up! LEGO building contest. This category restricted creations to maintaining 4 studs’ worth of contact with the display surface. Dali’s “Les Elephants” features just the sort of delicately balanced build many of us actively try to avoid. Thanks to the plethora of newer curved slope pieces over the last few years the Daliphant’s shape is well represented, and I’d almost wager it took longer to get the thing to safely stand in place than it did to build.
Need more LEGO Dali in your life? We’ve featured a few creations in the past, including Lin Kei’s own “Les Elephants” take which earned him a spot in the LEGO House’s Masterpiece Gallery.
Today we get to see one of our favorite LEGO artists might have fared as a more traditional user of ink and paper. We’re quite familiar with the work of 2016 TBB Builder of the Year Grant Masters as a LEGO artist: sometimes it’s an adorable kung fu panda, other times it’s a lifesize steampunk pistol, or even primeval anatomy. Grant is a master of scale and always brings excellent, inventive parts usage to the table.
As related by the builder, this “drawing” is meant to represent the start of the drawing process, the rough shapes and lines only just starting to come together as opposed to a completed, clean rendering. Swooping curves are achieved with whips, katanas, and even a high-pressure sprayer.
This LEGO render by Steven Howard is a stunning sight to behold. The lighting, the dark shadows within the room, the textures, the central figure peering out into the brightly lit exterior are all handled beautifully. Buuuuut the title and the shackle around her ankle clue us in that not all is right with this. Steven tells us that he supports an organization called Rapha International that helps children who are being exploited and trafficked in Cambodia and elsewhere. Obviously, this is a subject close to Steven’s heart and if you’d like to help in some way then visit rapha.org to learn more. He’d also like to encourage other LEGO artists to build or render something that brings light to a cause you believe in and to use the hashtag #buildabetterworldwithlego. Who knows, doing so just might make this world a little better in some way or another.
The line between art and craftsmanship is a tricky one to walk. I know I’ve gotten into a few deep (and sometimes tense) conversions with my friends about the distinction. Things get even trickier when you apply that sort of judgment call to LEGO creations. I think, though, that most would agree that Mitsuru Nikiado‘s works fall on the side of “art.” Not only is Object-8 titled like something you’d see in a gallery show, it looks like it’s right at home in a sculpture garden. In contrasting red and grey, Mitsuru has created a dynamic image of destruction.
That said, there’s still a lot of craftsmanship to appreciate. As you can see from this alternate angle, every bit of the exploding wall is connected. Building on the techniques in Object-5, modified 1×1 round plates and open-stud connectors combine to allow for some pretty crazy angles.
I recommend checking out Mitsuru’s photostream to see the other Objects in this series. (Object-4 is a personal favorite.)
Well, what do they have in common? Absolutely nothing! Sorry to disappoint you, but this is really more of an abstract art challenged driven by a contest to build a LEGO creation in a single color. Builder Markus Rollbühler cleverly builds a gravity-defying paint bucket and a tiny pirate ship sailing off the edges of spilt paint. So, since we’re on the topic, what’s a pirate’s favorite color? For sure it’s not yellow, but.. if you’ve not gotten it yet, it’s ARR-inge.