It is the Year of the Ox and we have not yet gotten tired of your OX-related LEGO creations. My case in point, Ian Ying knows that what glitters is pure gold. It’s an ox, it’s expertly crafted in LEGO and it’s entirely gold. What’s not to love? It’s especially poignant being that 2021 is a Golden Ox year and is said to be a very lucky year indeed. We haven’t had a golden ox year since 1961 and I’m told that year wasn’t without its charms. Other builders have used monochrome with some pretty amazing results. Also, check out some other Year of the Ox creations that we have featured.
An experiment occurred when Christian Lintan accidentally discovered some cool connections with another project which, in turn, led to this. What you’re looking at is a transforming LEGO Gundam-type mech who can become sort of like Mechagodzilla. He tells us he’s beyond thrilled with the result and we agree. Working in monochrome can be difficult at times but the end result is just about always visually striking. You ought to take some time to check out other LEGO artists who have worked in a monochrome palette.
Some LEGO creations look more like what you traditionally think of as art than others. Large scale sculptures are a good example of this, and Ekow Nimako’s are my favourite LEGO sculptures, and his latest piece is no exception. Part hawk, part Lynx, this Griffyx cub is all beauty.
While this isn’t the first time The Brothers Brick has shared one of Ekow’s creations, this is the first one that I’ve had the pleasure of writing about. And like Lino before me, I’m having a hard time picking my jaw up off the floor and finding the right words. LEGO sculptures are so often made up of the easier-to-acquire-in-mass-quantities bricks, most notably the most basic of all LEGO elements, the 2×4 brick. But Ekow’s palette includes a much more vast array of shapes and sizes of LEGO pieces. In what I can only imagine is a ridiculously thoughtful process, he’s able to craft the best, most organic-looking brick-built shapes I’ve ever seen.
Take the Griffyx. Just by looking at it, you can feel the way it’s stretching its neck as if it just woke up and it’s loosening up its muscles. You can see the flick of its tail, as it whips back and forth. The fur looks soft to the touch and the wings – expertly engineered out of smaller chima wings – look primed and ready to take flight. I don’t get those same strong sensations from other brick-built sculptures, only Ekow’s. Will my editors allow me to go as far as to say he’s the greatest LEGO sculpture of our time? Nothing against all the other brilliant brick artists out there, but Ekow is just rewriting the game.
There’s just something about a clean monochrome LEGO sculputure that draws me in. This build by Aido K reminds me of an alabaster statue in my parents’ home. The purity and gracefulness of the white on black is beautiful, although I think it would be just as elegant if the color was reversed. It has to be difficult to create this kind of movement, especially with these angles. And it’s a little wild to consider that the head must be sitting on a single stud.
For a medium that’s based around the core idea of “you can make anything you want,” LEGO builders just love to impose limitations on their creations. Things like “use only one color of brick” or “it has to be symmetrical,” or even the tricky “you can’t have any exposed studs.” Once again drawing inspiration from the drawings of M.C. Escher, Simon Liu takes that particular set of challenges and overcomes them. (Again.) Escher’s Drawing Hands transforms from flat art into a sculpture of hands creating themselves out of LEGO. Building Hands adds just the right touch of meta-level humor to a great build.
I particularly like how Simon found a clever way around the “no exposed studs” limit. By replicating the studs out of 1×1 round tiles, they both flaunted and followed the rules. Sure, the use of red lights may annoy the “monochromatic purists” among us, but I have a feeling they’re in the minority. No one said anything about limiting the light sources, after all. Or if they did, I didn’t hear about it.
Sometimes it’s all about getting the right camera angle… And maybe some fantastic vaulted ceilings. This monochrome shrine, built by David Hensel, is an exceptional marriage of LEGO architecture and photography. The lighting gives the whole scene a sense of somber and noble peacefulness. And the way that the pieces mesh together provides an element of age. It’s bold yet austere. If you have never tried to build curves like this, take a crack at it. This style requires a patient hand!
David recently made another completely different monochrome build. This time photography comes into play in a different way. Also take a look at some of these other awesome monochrome creations in our archives.
What you’re looking at is one of them there Tetrahedral Planetoids we’ve heard so much about in the sci-fi funny pages. Leave it to Simon Liu to wrap his noggin around a thing most of us can’t even pronounce much less think about. But Simon has one of those creative noggins and a knack to put it to use in LEGO. Math is beautiful, he tells us. I’ll take his word for it as my own mathematical results vary from “that just about makes sense” to…”now what in tarnation were you thinking, boy?” This piece is an exercise in both symmetry and monochromic applications. It was inspired by M.C. Escher who also has one of them creative noggins that can make math look beautiful.
Some of the best LEGO builds are the ones that move without moving, and like a picture, say a thousand words. This monochrome scene by Duncan Lindbo is one that says it all. A giant, insect-like robot, loaded with guns aimed at a sliver of concrete brick wall? I’d say we know how this one turns out, but maybe we’ll give that little guy a chance. He’s obviously doing something right if he survived this long…Then again, somehow that curious head tilt makes the mech look kinda cute. Maybe we’ve got it all wrong! Maybe it just wants to play! But either way, with the bullet holes on the ground, and the crater in that wall… Yeah, my money’s on the bug.
This creation wouldn’t be the same if it was in full color. There’s just something about monochrome. Click this link if you want to see a few more single-color builds.
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.
Building in monochrome can often be a huge challenge, even if the source material is too. This lovely mausoleum by Jens Ohrndorf is a really great example of knocking that challenge out of the park. The Taj Mahal-esque creation puts some nice techniques to work, especially on the top. Also, the aged and yellowed bricks give it a feel reminiscent of being true-to-life.
This close-up photo really shows how neatly everything fits together. Overall, the perfect amount of detail is packed into a satisfyingly compact microscale build.
Why not make a Buddha out of LEGO? Actually, while we’re at it, why not make a posable Buddha mech? That’s what inspired Moko to build this odd-but-beautiful creation, and the posable figure is actually quite intriguing. The body shape is nice, and the face, as well as the hair made with exposed studs on the head, are expertly crafted.
Moko is also quite good at taking photos that really bring his characters to life. If you can read Japanese (or roughly approximate it with an in-browser translator), you can learn more about Moko and his build on his blog. Actually, even if you can’t, his plethora of pictures are quite interesting! Yes, a minifigure can indeed fit in the compartment behind that muscular chest, so we guess that makes this technically a mech.
As we all know, building with LEGO isn’t just about creating cool things, it’s also a fantastic art medium. Not only that, it’s a wonderful outlet for self-expression. One builder and incredible artist, Ekow Nimako, is a master of gorgeous monochrome sculptures. This white unicorn is just one of his many creations.
It turns out that he has built a similar piece in almost all black. Also, it sounds like he is considering building a large-scale version of this creation, with a child on its back. If he does, I’m sure it will be incredible! Ekow has many amazing builds, so keep an eye out for future coverage!