Who built this city? He built this city! He built this city of bricks and plaaaaaaaates! Pardon the parodied lyrics, but Paul Hetherington’s latest masterpiece makes me want to rock out. Like many of Paul’s previous works, this creation is pleasing both when viewed as a whole and when you zoom in to view the details.
Viewed from a distance, it really does look like a city being built by a giant robot. Look closely though, and you’ll see fun scenes playing out, along with Paul’s trademark checkerboard patterns, and a façade inspired by Piet Mondrian’s Composition with Red Blue and Yellow. The colour combinations are my favourite aspect here. While many LEGO cities and towns are rife with greys, browns, and tans, Paul ignores those and leans hard into bright colours in complementary shades, creating yet another beautiful work of art.
I’m always impressed when someone builds something with LEGO bricks that doesn’t have a strong tie to an established theme or building style. It takes a special kind of eye to look beyond the mundane, and builder why.not? has that vision. Or they had a vision. Or maybe just a very bad dream. Whatever the source, they have brought to us an unsettling image indeed.
The central eye is built from 1×2 and 1×4 plates, using subtle color variation in light blue, tan, and blue grey to create a convincing iris against a white brick background.
Eyelashes are constructed from minifigure hands clipped to the modified plates and tiles that create a smooth curve to the eyelid. There’s even a curved brick to represent the tear duct.
Additional creepy details include an abundance of Technic (eye)ball joints, a floating maw made of teeth and quarter-round tiles, and dangling red tentacles. The heart uses exotic elements like a sand blue dinosaur tail and medium lavender flexible hose. There’s even a dragon wing hidden in the blood(?) in the upper right.
I’m not sure what this piece says to me. But I’m kind of glad it can’t talk. I doubt I’d want to hear the messsage it brings.
As an avid builder and a contributor for The Brothers Brick, I have seen a lot of LEGO creations. I mean A LOT of LEGO creations. To put this in perspective as to what it is like to be an adult LEGO builder, I have a LEGO room in my home — most of us do, some more elaborate than others. Whether it be a corner of the laundry room, a repurposed bedroom, or an elaborate add-on suite built for this reason, we all have a dedicated space to build LEGO. A perusal of my phone contacts reveals that the vast majority of my friends are LEGO friends. We eat, sleep and breath this stuff daily. By now I’ve written a fair number of articles and am confident that I can at least amuse if not inspire or enlighten our readers. With all this in mind, you’d think there would be no one to baffle me and put me at a loss for words. But then along came Ekow Nimako.
See more of this amazing LEGO sculpture
Sometimes the best inspiration for a LEGO creation comes from someone else’s failure, or at least from their frustrated abandonment of a complex idea. Pau Padrós‘s brother attempted to build Raphael’s masterpiece “The School of Athens”, but was about to give up; Pau took the build, changed the scale, and ran with it to create this amazing digital model. The painting, and thus the plastic version, focuses on the two most important philosophers of the Greek world, and thus of Western civilization: Plato and Aristotle. Naturally, some details of the original painting have been lost—I don’t recall Euclid’s face being a hollow square in Raphael’s version—but it is still a masterwork in forms; Plato would be proud. (That’s a philosophy pun, if you missed it.) I love how Pau has kept the detail of the two philosophers’ hands, with Plato’s pointing to the sky (where the ideal forms of all things reside) and Aristotle’s flat over the ground (which is the natural world, the observation of which is the source of our knowledge).
Besides the philosophers shown, which is exciting enough, Pau has hidden all sorts of details in the build. Each of the figures of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle are comprised of twenty-two pieces, which in numerology means that they are on the path to turn dreams to reality. Of the 41 solid colors of LEGO in production, 38 are used, which perhaps represents the broad range of ideas held by these different men (and woman). The sextant makes for an effective lyre in Apollo’s statue’s hand, and a droid body approximates Athena’s Aegis-shield well enough. Don’t miss the green barbed wire as Epicurus’ garland, either. With forty-seven philosophers here (everyone from Alexander to Zeno) there’s something for everyone to appreciate and emulate. Most importantly, perhaps, is the lost art of disagreeing amicably and discussing rationally.
Want to see more of the build? Check out the video here:
One of my favorite things is the intersection of LEGO and art. Brandon Griffith has similar feelings, as expressed in his description for his creation Coalesce, built for the LEGO booth at 2019’s Comic-Con. At first glance, I thought this was an 11×11 vignette of a gallery scene – the “exposed studs” along the top of the wall combined with the red, blue and purple “bricks” in perfect proportions. Looking closer, though, you recognize the minifigures and your sense of scale has a dramatic zoom out. Almost as an afterthought, you can spot a lime green “1×1 brick” oozing in the corner, and notice that the gaps in the wall look like brick cut-outs.
Complimenting the excellent craftsmanship is the inclusive theme of the piece as a whole. To coalesce is to “come together”; the combining of red and blue stripes into a new purple element invites the viewer to think about not only color theory and LEGO building but more complex issues in the unification of different ideas and concepts.
And how’s this for interactivity? Brandon invites anyone lucky enough to attend Comic-Con 2019 to stop by the LEGO booth and pose a figure on the model!
Here’s a little something different courtesy of aukbricks. This piece of art was created using just twenty elements, ten each in yellow and black. Compared to most LEGO models, there’s not much physical cohesion to this build. In fact, it looks like there are only two pieces actually connected to each other. The image of the bird comes from careful part placement and alignment.
This is a digital render, but it could be replicated in the real world as it uses only existing part/color combinations. I particularly like the use of tentacles for the tail feathers. The bananas that do double duty as claws and as detail in the head are a close second.
The Norwegian museum Kistefos Museet is currently expanding, and Lego Fjotten brings us a look at the planned art bridge museum in LEGO form. Designed by BIG (Bjarke Ingels Group), the building spans the Ranselva river while twisting along its axis. The LEGO version accomplishes the same task, spanning a river of 1×2 transparent blue tiles with a turn that is almost as seamless as the large scale architecture will be.
Beyond the centerpiece of the bridge, Lego Fjotten also shows skill with a realistic and complex landscape. Trees, gently sloping hills, a cobblestone walk, and tiny picnic tables with minifigure statuettes give things a sense of scale.
To learn more, I recommend you check out BIG’s project summary for the Twist. There you’ll find amazing concept art and an explanation of how the Twist changes the entire experience of the sculpture garden.
Their similar goals of provoking thought in the beholder is why science fiction and abstract art often go hand in hand, and this applies to LEGO as well as other media. The freedom to create something new also makes it easier to send a new message. Ralf Langer has taken this freedom to create a mysterious scene of a discovery on an alien planet. What lies beyond the door? Is it a symbol of creation of new life or the inevitable change in an already existing one?
No matter the meaning, the creation is impressive in a completely technical view as well. To less experienced builders it may seem like a few simple surfaces broken up by random and inherently meaningless technical textures we like to call “greebling”, but there is much more to it. Ralf is a master of textures as he proves here with grids of minifig stud shooter triggers. The main point of this build is composition though. Ralf has joined seemingly simple parts into something that looks full, but not cluttered. My personal favourite part is the mysterious gate, with a unique texture made using LEGO treads.
We featured an emotionally packed creation by Malin Kylinger a few months ago, and the builder returns to the theme with another scene in a similar style.
The build has a very authentic LEGO style, using some prominent elements, like official dragons and an eagle, in their intended way. The same impression is facilitated by the brick and slope design of the translucent outer shell of the tear, reminiscent of brick sculptures one can see in Legoland parks, LEGO stores and other promotions around the world. Many LEGO artists choose serious themes for their creations, but Malin’s very loyal approach to the brick as a child’s toy makes the contrast between the message and the medium even more pronounced. The builder says the creation is open to interpretation, and mine is “contrasts everywhere!”
We have featured a beautiful LEGO creation of grey butterflies gaining colour by Dario Minisini before. Now the builder returns to the theme with this meaningful build of grey clouds being turned into a rainbow-coloured butterfly.
I just love Dario’s style of butterflies, as well as the multiple smaller ones. Some of the partially formed butterflies really give an impression of movement. The builder does not provide much of a description, but the message seems quite clear from the title: “Let the colors go out from your heart”.
If you happen to come across the obscure Flickr photostream of why.not?, you will likely be asking yourself the question “why?” more often than “why not?” The builder seems to specialize in very obviously giving her builds a message, but more often than not, the message is hard to pin down. Her latest creation is a nighttime scene of a room with an open window. This scene captures the ambiance of fresh night air so well that I can almost feel the cool breeze. It is actually so beautifully mundane that I can not help but relax and go to sleep now… Wait, nope, there are some chains on the floor and I have no idea what they are there for. No sleep tonight.
The build itself seems quite simple, with a cute city skyline in forced perspective as the background, using different shades of yellow as windows with a bit of variation, making for quite a realistic effect. I also really like the moon, built with a round tile and a white rubber band around it that gives a glowing effect. The room has a few interesting details as well, especially the little marbles on the table, which seem to be made of either levers or antennas. The handles on the windows and the door are a great idea too, using pearl gold minifig arms to achieve a very classy look.
Hands up if you love this LEGO model! Australian artist Kale Frost is a master at handcrafted LEGO models of varying scales and this time he’s constructed a little scene full of 1:1 scale items. Although this scene was posted as a tease for a future creation, we felt this work stood on its own for the composition of the modeled artist’s hand, paintbrushes with all sorts of neat tips including a cheerleader’s pompom and rare dark green broom, pen and pencil, the spiral-bound notepad using Nakia’s chakram rings.
Hands down the biggest mystery to me here is the inclusion of the crayon girl costume collectible minifig. What’s her role? Is she one of the artist’s tools come to life? Maybe Kale’s next creation will lead us by the hand and explain it to us.
If Kale’s name sounds familiar, his handiwork has been featured on TBB several times in the past covering a broad range of styles and subjects. I’m keen on his roadside diner and microscale castle diorama.