We recently had the chance to sit down with Johan Alexanderson (LegoJalex) to discuss his building style and approach to the hobby. A part-time web developer, as well as a free-lance illustrator and comic book artist, Johan is 35 years old and lives in Sweden. Come with us as we explore the mind of a builder!
TBB: So how did you get into LEGO building?
LegoJalex: I started building about 5 years ago, after a “dark age” of about 15 years. I had a stressful time then and I really needed something to relax with, so naturally I started to build again. Building with LEGO has so many great memories for me and I really like the creativity involved. I think there are similarities with my interest in drawing and illustrating, where in both you have to think in a creative and artistic way.
This week we were able to talk with Anu Pehrson about her beautiful architectural builds, as well as many other aspects of the hobby. Anu lives in Seattle with her husband David and volunteers a lot of time to help make many different behind-the-scenes aspects of BrickCon run smoothly. She is a very easy person to talk to. If you ever get the chance, spend some time with her. You will be well-rewarded. Until then, however, this interview will have to do! Let’s dive in and explore the mind of a builder.
TBB: Can you give our readers some background on yourself? What is it about LEGO that draws you to it?
Anu: I’m from India. Growing up, there wasn’t much Lego to play with. Someone had gifted my brother a Lego systems set that I commandeered. Every time I sat down with the set, I tried to build something different. That’s how the story of building my own creations started. Then came my dark ages and in 2001 I moved to Seattle where I found Lego in abundance and rekindled my love for building. I built by myself for a few years and then accidently found the local LUG, BrickCon and the online Lego community. I see Lego as more of a medium of Art, rather than a child’s toy. Something that can be used to express one’s feelings, maybe like paint for a painter… As I build more, I use its limitations of being a finite piece of plastic to push its own limits and try to give models an organic and natural feel. Some of the newer parts definitely help in this process.
This week we were fortunate enough to track down Guy Himber. Guy has worked extensively in the film industry with credits for special effects, creature mechanics, makeup and more. He is a prolific Steampunk builder and has authored a book on the subject entitled LEGO Steampunk. He runs the Iron Builder LEGO competition and has founded his own company, CrazyBricks, which manufacturers quirky, short-run, custom pieces compatible with LEGO. Let’s dive in and raid his brain!
TBB: What can you tell our readers about how you got into building with LEGO?
Guy: Like most folks I grew up playing with LEGO as a kid. Countless were the hours I spent building and rebuilding and sorting and blowing up my favorite plastic bricks. The dark ages kicked in around middle school and I didn’t do much with the bricks until I started using them to do some mechanical prototyping for animatronics in the Film Industry (mainly Technic bricks from my old collection). When my son was old enough I got him his first LEGO set and he took to the bricks like his old man and the two us started building more and more sets and then creating massive environments and Jurassic Parks. The fateful AFOL day arrived via a special trip to BrickCon in Seattle many years ago. That was the Con that got me bit by the LEGO bug again and started me building at a serious level.
Today we are fortunate enough to get the chance to explore the mind of Master Mech builder, Mark Neumann! Mark lives with his family in western Washington State and has been a prominent member of the Adult LEGO Fan community for many years. While being know primarily for his awesome Mechs, Mark has also planned and organized many collaborative builds as well as the first BrickCon. In addition to his other efforts, He also recently finished a massive Classic Space SHIP known by her call sign “LL-2016”. Without further ado, let’s dive in.
TBB: Hi Mark, glad to talk to you today! To kick things off, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself?
Mark: Well, ok. Hiya. I have been an adult fan of LEGO since around the year 1999. That would have been when I was walking through a Fred Meyer with my (at the time) girlfriend and spotted something cool in the toy section. Star Wars LEGO. I could get a X-Wing, with Luke Skywalker! Yeah, I racked up some debt on the credit card that day.
This week we were able to track down Fedde Barendrecht to his Australian hideaway in Brisbane. Fedde, who goes by the handle Karf Oohlu, works from home, uploads another crazy LEGO creation almost daily and dreams of world domination. Somehow lots of monkeys and frogs are involved. Let’s dive into his mind but keep your wits about you. Once he has us in his tentacled embrace he may not let go again.
The Brothers Brick: Hey Fedde! What can you tell us about yourself? How did you get into LEGO and what keeps you there?
Fedde: Hi, I’m an old fart, my name is Fedde Barendrecht, Dutch born, Australian raised, and now living in Brisbane Australia. I blame a certain AFOL, Aaron Andrews (aka Darkspawn)—it’s all his fault. The first time I’d visited his place, I saw all the castle MOCs he was working on. (These days, family life—kids—is burning up most of his spare time, and cost him his Lego room.) It got me interested, so I first got into Bionicle, thinking they seemed restrictive and so would feed the interest but not get out of hand. A few System sets eventually got bought, some more—things got out of hand.
British builder Martin Redfern (redfern1950s on Flickr) recently caught our attention with his recreation of one of the cars from the old cartoon Wacky Races. Once we saw he was creating more cars from the show, we got in touch and interviewed him in preparation for the inevitable completion of the starting grid. With all 11 cars and all their drivers completed, learn how they were made and why Martin made them.
Get up close and personal with the builder and his creations
This week we were able to sit down with Vincent Gachod from Toulouse, in the south of France. While balancing his job as the head of video production at a french university and raising two kids, he finds time to create some incredible LEGO builds. Let’s pick his brain and see what we can learn from this master of the brick.
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Vince: I started with LEGO in the mid 70’s with bricks from my brother’s collection. My first set was the 374 Fire Station of 1978. After my “dark age” in the 90’s, I came back to LEGO with my son and his first sets. I’m inspired by lot of influences (movies, animation, videos games, books, magazines, cars, architecture…) but I’m more inspired by the details : a car’s wheel, a plane’s engine or a vintage vacuum cleaner! I often start a MOC from a single detail like a car’s grille or an exhaust pipe. I spend a long time working on details.
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Pacurar Andrei, also known as Vitreolum (Letranger Absurde). Pacurar lives in Romania and builds in a wide range of styles and genres. His work is highly regarded and his build, Room with a View, made our short-list of the year’s best creations. Please walk with us as we explore the mind of a builder!
TBB: How did you get into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Pacurar Andrei: I got into the hobby when I decided to sell my childhood collection. They were all mixed together in two large bags, so I had to sort and build everything… by the time I was done with this I ended up buying sets instead of selling. Everything inspires me, from someone else’s build to things that surround me. Sometimes just looking at a certain part will be enough. Or just an idea that suddenly pops in my head. Although my biggest source of inspiration has always been movies, games and literature. The challenge is whether I can translate it into bricks.
Here at The Brothers Brick, we tend to specialize in certain kinds of news, LEGO creations, and reviews, but thanks to our partnerships with other LEGO websites, we’re able to bring you more kinds of content. Please enjoy this excellent interview that originally appeared on New Elementary.
To conclude our farewell to LEGO® BIONICLE® “Generation 2”, we have an interview with three members of the team. This was actually recorded prior to the announcement that the theme would be ending, but of course these guys continue to make Constraction figures with The LEGO Group, so whilst BIONICLE is dead (or perhaps merely dormant), the elements live on!
We recently had the opportunity to talk with Paul Hetherington and take a tour inside his head to see how he invents such fantastic creations. Our readers will recognize him as the builder of our Creation of the Year 2016, Gotham Theater Showdown, but his creations span a much greater range in subject and technique than many people may realize. Let’s get to know Paul, shall we?
TBB: Can you give us a little background on how you got into the LEGO hobby and what inspires you to build?
Paul: I’ve been into the LEGO hobby since before you could reasonably use the word “classic” to describe old space and castle sets. I bought my first set as an adult in 1991, which was the Space M-Tron Pulsar Charger. Little did I know back then that I had just taken the first step on an epic journey — one that would introduce me to so many amazing people, and have my LEGO creations be recognized around the world. Because back in 1991, as far as I knew, I was the only crazy adult who bought LEGO sets.
There are so many things that inspire me to build. My first creations were just built for my own enjoyment, as there was no way to share them. Then when the internet came along, all of a sudden a local LEGO club formed which I joined. From that point I had a reason to build. The first years of creating were mainly spent recreating local buildings, trains and hot rods for train shows and museums. I found I really enjoyed doing research to ensure that my creations were historically accurate and to scale. I soon became inspired to add some fantasy elements into my creations. I discovered Art Deco, Art Nouveau, and the works of Antoni Gaudi. Theme parks, Mardi Gras floats, and parades were also a great source of inspiration.
More recently, I had the pleasure to work with the artist Douglas Coupland on an installation and came to the realization that Lego has a place in the Art world. I find the Surrealists, especially Dali, and Pop Art, and Comic book art to be particularly inspiring. In recent years my creations have had more of an artistic twist and I see myself going more in that direction. Architecture will always be at the heart of what I do and is usually the catalyst for my creations.
The Brothers Brick publishes so many stories that we’re giving you the best of LEGO news and reviews. This is our Weekly Brick Report for the first week of 2017 (and the new year is off to a great start).
TBB NEWS: Holy moly, Batman, there was an avalanche of news this week. From the unveiling of Boost at CES to sending a plane to the South Pole, we have all you need to know right here, including the winners of TBB’s Builder and Creation of the year!
REVIEWS & INSTRUCTIONS: TBB had its hands full creating mascot instructions and reviewing a new set from Star Wars: Rogue One.
Earlier this week we brought you the news about the newly unveiled LEGO Boost robotics system, an entry-level System-based building and coding toolkit designed to make it easier for kids to get into programming and robotics. We also think LEGO Boost has the potential to bring the more complex creations of adult LEGO builders to life, so we’ve been curious to learn more. I’m in Las Vegas for the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES), so I was able to swing by the LEGO booth to talk tech with LEGO Boost engineers and designers.
That’s me on the left, with Lasse Lauesen, the lead computer engineer on the Boost project. LEGO Boost is being designed and developed by the same team behind LEGO Mindstorms, with collaboration from Playthemes designers like lead designer Simon Kent and well-known fan builder turned LEGO designer Carl Merriam.
What struck me first about all the LEGO Boost models on the tables at CES was the color scheme. The primary color scheme of dark azure (the same color as the gorgeous 10252 Volkswagen Beetle) contrasts beautifully with the orange and white, with plenty of bricks also in black and greys. Designer Simon Kent told me that the team chose these colors very consciously as a gender-neutral palette. And I agree — it’s a fairly strong departure from the aggressive black, red, and white of Mindstorms EV3, without swinging the pendulum all the way toward “baby” colors.
Read our full hands-on coverage from CES