One thing that LEGO and art have in common is that they are both highly sought after by collectors. The major difference between Banksy and LEGO is that LEGO is collectible whereas Banksy’s oeuvre is impossible to collect (on purpose of course). That being said, with LEGO anything is possible — even the recreation of a Banksy, as Tina and Chris have done here in this wonderful build.
The builders seem to heavily rely on the SNOT (studs not on top) technique to achieve the form of this build. No specialized elements are utilized here; looks like mostly bricks, small plates and tiles compose the piece.
The subject of the build is what is most alluring, especially since Tina and Chris have constructed a version of the artwork hilariously “self-destructing”. While nobody can really become a Banksy collector at least the concepts of his work can live on through other media.
Sometimes a LEGO creation enables you to smell, feel and imagine a whole slew of things that aren’t even there. Take this render by Douglas Hughes, for example. It is called Sunset in the Gulf and it depicts a helicopter and oil rig silhouetted against the sunset. I can imagine wearing ear plugs to squelch out the noise and a hard hat that barely contains the sweat and grime. I can envision wrenching on an uncooperative bolt with all my strength, filthy coveralls and a squeal of machinery. Do I have an overactive imagination? perhaps I do, but an imagination fueled by life experiences. While not quite an oil rig I have been in the boiler rooms and engine rooms of ships and there is a certain taste and smell to an environment like this.
While your experiences and feeling for this piece may vary, at least for my ol’ reptile brain this conjures up rusted memories of now ages gone by. And for that, Douglas, you have my kudos.
It takes a talented builder to take a very specialized LEGO part, like a train switch, and turn it into something totally different. Of course, we all know Jonas Kramm is a talented builder, so it should come as no surprise that he managed to make a train switch into a painting of a peacock. It is unquestionably the best peacock head I have ever seen done in LEGO form, and perhaps the best bird head, too. The bumps on the switch make perfect nostrils, and it also works well as the eyes on the tail. But Jonas did not stop there: he also used the part for the lantern flame, and the drawer pulls. Not to mention the Jurassic World gyrosphere for the lantern glass and the green snake for paint. It’s a great composition of a great composition, for sure!
A little while ago, Alyse Middleton and I (Chris Doyle) shared the process behind our Wonder Woman LEGO Art mosaic. We didn’t have the time (or parts) to finish our vision then, but as promised we’ve returned to share the completed project – a 48 x 144 stud tribute to Lynda Carter. Consuming over 7000 pieces, (6,912 of them 1×1 round plate/tile), this has the same form-factor as the giant Darth Vader and Iron Man “Ultimate” builds.
In this rather solemn LEGO mosaic by Jaap Bijl titled “Einstein’s One Great Mistake”; a more serious topic is explored – Albert Einstein and his role in the Manhattan Project. If we’re going to get artsy here, I would even say that the color palette and aesthetic of this build are reminiscent of Picasso’s “Blue Period.”
The 4×4 petaled flower element is back in multiples, this time in an ominous arrangement forming a mushroom cloud – the shape generally synonymous with nuclear explosions. The rest of the scene in the right panel is formed with various sized plates and tiles in dark hues with white 1×1 round bricks and cones creating the stem of the cloud. A portrait of Einstein is presented in the left panel; his face is carved out of various bricks, slopes, and tiles, for the most part utilizing the SNOT (studs not on top) technique. Einstein’s notoriously unruly and spiky hair is rendered by a synergy of the white 4×4 petaled flower pieces and white dinosaur tails. In terms of composition, although this work could be called a mosaic, it differs significantly from the new LEGO Art mosaics which are comprised mostly out of 1×1 studs. For me, Einstein’s hair and the mushroom cloud both being heavily composed of the petaled flower elements represents a kind of mirroring effect, but I could be looking too deep into this. Either way, I think it could be said that this build is genuinely thought-provoking.
The idea for a new quarantine hobby — marble sculpture. Oh sure, it can be pricey and a little hazardous… but if we’re talking about LEGO, all you need is a monochrome minifig on hand and a few Tuscan houses to set a scene like Kev.the.builder’s latest creation. In this idyllic build, Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is carving out a new masterpiece. The sculpture looks very polished, being made of a variety of tiles, including a Nexo Knights shield and macaroni tiles. The houses in the background are great examples of Kev’s knack for textured brickwork. My favorite is the dark tan house on the right, with its inset masonry brick door. The exposed studs on its pediment add a nice rustic touch at the top of an upside-down cheese slope archway.
It’s 1496 in Milan, Italy and the renowned artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci is finishing up his latest commission, a fresco spanning the wall of the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Over the years, “The Last Supper” has become a symbol of the Renaissance art movement. More recently, it has been recreated as a LEGO vignette by Joe (jnj_bricks). In this stunning rendition of da Vinci’s masterpiece, Joe creates the appearance of a two-dimensional fresco with the illusion of three-dimensionality using three-dimensional LEGO bricks– it’s mind-boggling!
Let’s take a look at some of Joe’s illusionistic building techniques in “The Last Supper”. First, the floor in the fresco is built slanting upwards. This creates a deep shadow underneath the table, reminiscent of da Vinci’s chiaroscuro technique of contrasting light and shadow in his oil paintings. Next, the walls of the room within the fresco are built using slope bricks instead of standard 1x bricks, making the “back wall” appear to be much farther away than it actually is. Finally, the bordering brick “window” that frames the fresco completes the composition. Early illusionistic wall paintings that date back to ancient Rome would also use this technique to portray a vista into another world.
All of these techniques enhance the forced perspective in the overall build, creating a convincing replica of the real-life fresco. With the amount of realistic details and artistic techniques packed in this build, it’s hard to believe Joe hasn’t apprenticed for the Renaissance master builders!
LEGO builder Grant Davis demonstrates quite a few tricks with this massive King of Diamonds playing card. The seed part is a white 4×4 flower. He incorporates twenty-one of those mamma-jammas into the intricate design of this card. Also expertly woven into the design is yellow ribbed hoses and a myriad of parts situated in complex angles. Grant doesn’t provide size dimensions in his write-up but based on the bricks that we can see, we estimate this feat of artistry is nearly three feet high! Now let’s hope he’ll also build fifty-one of his closest friends to complete the deck. Until then, you may want to settle in and check out some of the other stuff Grant has built.
August has arrived and that means new LEGO sets! LEGO has launched 108 new sets and items available today. In addition to new sets like the Nintendo NES and Super Mario lineup, Ideas Grand Piano, Star Wars 501st Battle Pack and LEGO Art, fans in the US and Canada can finally celebrate the summer arrival of Harry Potter, Creator 3-in-1, City, and Ninjago waves that you’ve waited so patiently for. Nearly every LEGO theme has some new sets–it can be a lot to process!– so we have your complete guide right here detailing each and every new set and item. [EDIT: It appears that LEGO may have delayed the US & Canada release of some of these sets until September. We’ve asked for clarification.]
LEGO is also offering two free gifts-with-purchases at the start of August. The first is 30385 Super Mushroom Surprise, free with purchases of LEGO Super Mario sets more than US $40 through August 16th or while supplies last.
A LEGO builder who goes by the dubious name of buttloaf_builds (if that’s your real name!) has constructed something called The Gluttonous. It comes with the ominous quote; “Covet not lest you be devoured by your greed in turn.” That reminds me, unless you happen to live in devil-may-care Florida or Texas, most of us haven’t seen an all-you-can-eat buffet since before the pandemic. Nor are they giving away free samples at Trader Joe’s or Costco to stuff our faces with. Is this a good thing? Somehow it hasn’t stopped me from adding another inch to my ever-expanding waistline. Still, this is a pretty neat creation even if it’s a bit disturbing.
It is inspired by this mural painted by Coppo di Marcovaldo in circa 1260. It kind of makes you want to reconsider eating that third cookie now, doesn’t it?
Instagram user legotruman renders a LEGO version of Van Gogh’s The Starry Night and we’re all pretty impressed. See what I did there? Impressed. Because Impressionist. Get it? This is why I make the big bucks here, people. Anyway, we can all appreciate good LEGO art here. I particularly enjoy the plates set at all those crazy rakish angles representing those crazy rakish clouds. The moon with its halo glow is also quite charming.
Not content to copy the human form, self-aware robots are now co-opting the works of their original masters in a blatant attempt to show off. This latest piece of so-called art depicts the creation of some robot by another robot, documented by a human “assistant” called Red. While the subject may be a bit derivative (I think there is a famous chapel somewhere in Europe that has something similar on the ceiling), I can find no fault in the construction. Notice the twisting tubes on the creator, which remind the viewer of muscles coiled for action… And the reclining figure looks like it is well suited to its purpose if that purpose is laying around while the human servants do all the work.