For December’s TBB social media cover image, alanboar is taking us back to the turn of the last century in Hong Kong, where the Taikoo Ropeway spans the mountainside in Hong Kong. In use from 1891-1932, the aerial ropeway (also called the Mount Parker Cable Car) provided quick transportation from the docks and sugar refinery to apartments on the mountain’s slopes. Alanboar’s rendition is an artistic representation all decked out in the white of snow, backed by the apartments and elegant steep-pinnacled peaks with clouds punctuating the sky.
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By now, LEGO bricks’ place among other art media should be obvious, but it still seems to be more of an exception than the rule for builders to express their emotions through bricks. But some times, builders do feel the need to express themselves, as in the case of Malin Kylinger in her latest build. Malin states that the dual theme of the creation represents a range of emotions she went through in the recent times. What at first glance looks like a simple struggle between good and evil hides countless possible interpretation. Is this a chaotic whirlwind of changing emotion or is it a fine balance? Or maybe there is no struggle, just coexistence of light and dark?
Whatever the interpretation, there is no getting around the fact this is a great build. The face is technically a somewhat flat build, but from the photos, it looks very realistic. The hair is built using an interesting technique using strings with bars as the flexible basis for the white and dark red leaves. My favourite part by far are the eyes built using pieces as crazy as feathered minifig wings. The landscaping might look chaotic to some, but I see it as a stream of consciousness in LEGO.
An artist’s work is never done, but even when the stone block is still half rough from the quarry, there’s room to marvel. Gabriel Thomson‘s rugged craftsman may be working with a harder medium than Gabriel himself, but it’s nonetheless a reflection of the skill involved in art, be it made of marble or LEGO. And speaking of skill, the horse head is fantastically sculpted, but no less so than the workman with his thick beard and toned arms.
Framed in just the right way, any life can seem interesting on social media, as shown in a LEGO scene by Arnaud B. The build and shot are quite clever in this artistic social commentary, with the phone frame hiding the seams between grayscale “real life” and full color “Instagram-filtered life” perfectly.
At first, second and maybe even the third time one looks at this realistic bathroom scene by Johan Alexanderson, it appears to be a simple interior scene, possibly a little messy with a broken piece of the mirror above the sink. The title “Despair” on the builder’s Flickr photo page might shift your focus a little, though. Was the mirror broken in a moment of emotional torment? Who is the figure seen in the mirror? Did they break the mirror? Johan had initially written a backstory for the build but has decided to remove it and keep the image open to interpretation, without being distracted by the LEGO artist’s own idea.
While this build is an artistic composition, it is also a great LEGO creation and I always love to look deep into techniques and part usage. The differently coloured wheels at the sink are particularly inspired, as are the uses of the small ball joints as towel hangers. The tiled walls are masterfully done, down to the damaged tiles and the incorporation of a heater. But the best and most realistic details are definetely the toothpaste oozing from its tube and the whole mess in the corner.
Had it not been for the clear bright sunshine outside of the doorway, I’d pass this build as something that wasn’t made with LEGO. Builder why.not? provokes our emotions by recreating an unfortunate and desolate abode. The dark roof reeks of an eerie feeling with spiders and cobwebs. The detailing is simply amazing – the cracks on the left of the door aren’t just painted but made up of a cleverly positioned assortment of sloped bricks, and a similar technique makes the words on the other side of the door. Who lives here? Why is it so dark and lifeless?
The key is the piece of graffiti scrawled across the wall, proclaiming “Hate.” When in the depths of hatred, you close yourself off to the world and fill it with your own refuse. However, there’s always a gleam of hope, through the door. Only by stepping outside can you begin to feel the light.
Creativity and art are closely related concepts, and there are few things that promote creativity as much as LEGO bricks. As a result, LEGO fan creations often turn out to be the subtlest works of art, as builders express themselves without the pressure of being serious or conveying some deeper meaning or emotion. But in other examples, like this one by Anthony Wilsonn, the main purpose of the creation is indeed to carry an artistic meaning.
The creation seems to be a composition of different, seemingly unrelated pillars and statues set in a natural environment that connects them to a coherent whole. The most impressive parts are set in the centre of the image — the square “arch” and the blossoming tree growing around it. Anthony provides a bit of story to the build, but he still leaves it vague enough that the creation remains open to our interpretations.
In this enigmatic piece, builder why.not? creates a heart from the negative space formed in a wall of black bricks. Acting like a window it draws our attention towards the red and white quadrants behind. Two opposing figures face off across the coloured fields, separated by rugged chains. As a builder myself, I find the use of the imperfect connections between elements to create glowing cracks particularly effective. As we’ve seen before, why.not? is careful not to give too much away, leaving the work untitled, but this shouldn’t stop us pondering the turmoil of the heart it passionately expresses.
“I would love to live there!” This was the first thought that entered my mind upon seeing this warm and welcoming loft apartment, built by Heikki M. Thanks to the iconic large open space and towering windows, this living space looks like it’s straight out of Manhattan. The composition of the entire scene is excellent, with the carpet, table and couch drawing your eyes to some impressive-looking masonry. I like how the furniture feels simple but modern, with each piece playing off of one another to form a cohesive still life. Even the portrait of Michael Jackson is well-placed; his side-turned head makes it look as if he’s admiring Heikki’s pad.
This Medusa-like character is eerie and sinister while at the same time beautiful and terrifying. One can only wonder what would inspire Timofey Tkachev to build such an unsettling mythical creature. The curvature on the female form and its detailing through the careful parts usages for the eyes and lips amplifies the realism. What draws the viewer to the scene subconsciously is the impressive effort of tessellation with steering wheels that complements the scene.
Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, and the UK is currently in the grip of what our press is calling a heatwave (although folks from other countries would probably describe it as “mildly warm”). And so, this great little melting LEGO brick from Chris Maddison totally fits the mood. The curved slope parts employed, and the effortless SNOT (studs-not-on-top) construction techniques, create a fabulous impression of a classic red 2×4 brick slumping and spreading in the heat. Just looking at this thing is enough to raise the temperature. Hot stuff.
I love how LEGO bricks can be used to express and build subjects other than the usual way we see 3-dimensional stacks of bricks. Sheo pulls this off very well with a portrait entitled “Evelyn.” When I first had a look at this, it reminded me of an art form that’s so very familiar yet I still can’t put my finger on it — elegant and polished with clever use of tiny accessories or parts that seem to just blend in like that cutlass forming the bridge of her nose.
While the portrait of Evelyn enchants, the Trickster featured below hints at an evil, mysterious character.