Tag Archives: Politics

Build your very own Donald Trump BrickHead [Instructions]

When we set out to plan our April First content, a lot of great ideas were suggested. But when the idea to build BrickHeadz of Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin was suggested, we knew we had a winner. I was thrilled to build them, having already designed and built custom BrickHeadz of Santa, and recently, a Leprechaun.

My first idea was to really make it a solid caricature, with comb-over blowing in the wind, and a shirtless Putin. But the trick to any good April Fools joke is to have enough realism to make it plausible, to really make people think, the same way that the best lies have a kernel of truth. So we decided that they should have that certain official “LEGO BrickHeadz style.” Luckily for me, the recent release of the LEGO Go Brick Me set that we have recently reviewed included just the parts we needed to give our custom BrickHeadz that kernel of truth.

The article was very successful and even led to some folks contacting LEGO about how they could get a copy of the set (for reals, please don’t do that). Sadly, this set will never be available to purchase (LEGO Education has much more important work to do like helping teach creativity to kids than making satirical products). But we are proud to share the instructions here, and while we don’t have a parts list, most of the parts used are readily available along with the Go Brick Me set, available now in stores.

See full instructions after the jump

Half a century later: Keeping the dream alive

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Though silenced half a century ago, the voice of this legendary American civil rights activist and leader rings thunderous today; his thoughts still quoted in speeches; the reach of his legacy reflected in thousands of public roads, buildings and spaces across the US that now bear his name. (I am actually writing this from King County, Washington.)

My simple tribute: King’s likeness (taken from a memorial plaque in Berlin) recreated with LEGO parts pushed together but not attached. Despite the progress we’ve made, it seems sometimes that the pieces are there but not all connected…

LEGO Education launches BrickHeadz series with 41630 Trump & Putin double pack [Fake News]

Move over, pop culture, because LEGO Education BrickHeadz have arrived. LEGO today announced a new Politics@Play line of its popular BrickHeadz line, commencing with 41630 Trump & Putin. The double BrickHeadz buddy pack features the two world leaders, contains 279 pieces, and will retail for $29.99 USD beginning May 1.

CLick to read more about the new LEGO Education BrickHeadz series

Wonderful BrickHeadz of truly awful people

One of the things I really love about the LEGO building community is how LEGO artists can undermine conventions and subvert expectations. We’ve long maintained the viewpoint here at The Brothers Brick that LEGO is indeed art. Art can be fun, art can be funny, art can be uncomfortable, and yes, art can definitely be political — Nobel Prize for Literature winner Toni Morrison says, “All good art is political! There is none that isn’t. And the ones that try hard not to be political are political by saying, ‘We love the status quo.'” So it’s always interesting to see LEGO artists take on unexpected, difficult, and even uncomfortable subjects. And there is nothing more discomfiting than seeing our favorite LEGO BrickHeadz style applied by Swedish LEGO artist O Wingård to two of the most terrible people in human history — General Secretary of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union Joseph Stalin and Nazi Führer Adolf Hitler.

But discomfort should provoke thought, and thought should provoke discussion, and discussion can (but doesn’t always) result in progress. If LEGO is art and all good art is political, then good LEGO creations are (by the transitive property of equality) inherently political. If you’re a decent human being, these adorable BrickHeadz should make you deeply uncomfortable. What does that say about art? About the human condition?

Democracy requires a nation of participants

“Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt

Please don't do it...

I wouldn’t dream of telling anyone else how to vote, let alone people who live in a different country to me. However, to any external observer (and to most of the Americans I’ve spoken to) the current Presidential election campaign has been singularly depressing in its negative tone. And that’s what prompted me to build this model.

Here’s hoping whoever wins out in tomorrow’s vote will at least attempt to heal some of the divisions that have opened up. Whatever happens, if you don’t vote, you can’t complain.

LEGO Builders Of America — from our worldwide team of contributors to our friends in the USA — put your bricks down for a little while tomorrow and go exercise your franchise.

Our thoughts are with Brussels: A LEGO tribute

Yesterday’s bombing attacks in Brussels left over 30 dead and hundreds wounded during bombings at the airport and Metro, with responsibility being claimed by Daesh.

TBB’s own Simon Liu has created this touching tribute showing Belgium’s famous son Tintin and Snowy the dog giving comfort to each other with the flag of Belgium in the background.

Untitled

Our thoughts are with Belgium and the friends and family of those killed or wounded in the attacks.

Make Donald Drumpf (and LEGO) again

Here in South Africa politicians are a joke. While you may be shouting at me stating that it’s the same in your country, did your president ever state that showering after sex lowers the chance of contracting HIV? Did your health minister need a liver transplant after heavy drinking? Did you have a finance minister who was in office for a total of four days?

All that said, let me tell you, Donald Trump Drumpf is still a real joke of a politician. The rest of the world is looking in shock as he continues to gain popularity and we’re legitimately scared of him becoming president of the United States.

To mark these trying times, SuckMyBrick brings us this recreation of the loudmouth. Uncanny, isn’t it?

Donald J. Drumpf

I’m going to stop typing now. I don’t want to get sued.

“Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...”

In the wake of last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris, there have been a lot knee-jerk reactions from politicians and leaders regarding the refugee policies of their respective states. Satirical Swedish building duo SuckMyBrick decided to add a little LEGO-colored commentary on the debate, that should serve to remind us here in the US that Europe’s refugee situation is considerably more dire and complicated than our own.

In the builders’ own words: “Europe is struggling to accept more refugees every day and is partially doing a good job at it. But from the refugees standpoint, it’s hard to understand a closed door when what they are running from is so much worse than the problems that arise for us by helping them.”

A story of Chinese artist Ai Weiwei, LEGO, and a lot of miscommunication [News]

LEGO is usually in the news for positive events — recently it was a tower of the stuff breaking a world record — and even when the news is bad, it’s because everyone wants some of it. But this is a different story altogether.

Chinese artist, political prisoner, and human rights activist Ai Weiwei is known for his strong stance for freedom of speech and other civil liberties in the People’s Republic of China, and this reflects in his work. In September Ai requested a bulk order of LEGO for his studio and a project the studio was working on, and was denied. He quotes the reply stating “they cannot approve the use of Legos for political works” on his Instagram account.


A photo posted by Ai Weiwei (@aiww) on Oct 23, 2015 at 6:04am PDT

Up until that point this seems to be par for the course: The LEGO Group, a company that produces and sells toys aimed at children and teenagers, has the right to restrict sales of their products freely. It must be noted, however, that Ai could have purchased what he needed through standard retail or secondary market channels, albeit without the discount associated with a bulk order directly from the LEGO Group. This was not clear when The Gaurdian reported on the story, incorrectly stating that he was “banned” from using the product.

Ai WeiweiThe article, which has since spread and lead to numerous other stories that seem to confuse key details, seems to be the root of the misconception. Strangely, the body copy of the story and the headline are contradictory, as no source is ever given for Weiwei being “banned”.

A day after the original story, The Guardian ran a follow-up which focused on Weiwei receiving a large influx of Lego donations. Again, there is no source citing Weiwei being banned, or how such an incident would be incited or enforced.

We reached out to our contacts at the Lego Group for comment, and they shared the following statement:

The LEGO Group does not comment on the dialogue we have with our customers, partners, consumers or other stakeholders. We acknowledge that LEGO bricks today are used globally by millions of fans, adults, children and artists as a creative medium to express their imagination and creativity in many different ways, including projects that are not endorsed or supported by the LEGO Group. We also respect any individuals’ right to free creative expression, and we do not censor, prohibit or ban creative use of LEGO bricks.

As a company dedicated to delivering creative play experiences to children, we refrain – on a global level – from engaging in in or endorsing the use of LEGO bricks in projects that carry a political agenda. Individuals may obtain LEGO bricks in other ways to create their LEGO projects if they so desire, but in cases where we receive requests for donations or support for projects – such as the possibility of purchasing LEGO bricks in very large quantities – and we are aware that there is a political context, we uphold our corporate policy and decline the request to access LEGO bricks directly.

Based on this additional information directly from LEGO, we can say for certain that The Guardian is incorrect in their usage of the word “ban” and “banned” in their articles, and that Ai enjoys the same freedom to purchase LEGO bricks as every other builder and “LEGO artist” in the world. He has simply been denied the ability to purchase LEGO bricks in bulk quantities at discounted prices directly from the The LEGO Group.

Speak softly, but carry a big can of paint

Almost ten years after his previous foray into the middle east, mysterious artist/activist Banksy recently popped up in the Gaza Strip, in an effort to once again highlight the plight of people in this region. Flickr member TheBrickAvenger was inspired to recreate one of the Gaza pieces in LEGO:

Some LEGO “purists” may scoff at the choice of the stacked bricks technique used here. But hey, maybe the builder was using it to make a statement? Or maybe there was literally no other way to create this image convincingly at mini-fig scale. Either way, the result is impressive – especially when you consider the effort it must have taken! For context, here is a photo of the original:

Remember to vote, innit?

It’s election day! This Thursday, British voters will be exercising their democratic rights by rushing to the pub, then staggering to the polling stations, then (if memory serves) heading straight back to the pub.

So far this version of 10 Downing Street by Ben and Rachel Apps is the only remotely relevant MOC that I’ve been able to dredge up for the occasion. Personally I blame the British government …for not producing any political figures memorable enough to be worth modeling in LEGO!

Anyway, hope you all have a great election – if nothing else it’ll be good practice for when this happens all over again at Christmas.

Je Suis Charlie

Although the tragic events that unfolded yesterday in Paris were simply the act of a few deranged individuals, they are a reminder to us that – like all members of the visual arts community – LEGO builders should value their freedom of expression too. French builder Jimmy Fortel decided to show his solidarity with the beautiful creation below.

Je suis Charlie

It’s impossible to please all the people all of the time. I for one have had my fair share of negative feedback for things that I’ve created. But I appreciate having the freedom to push those boundaries and make artistic statements without fearing physical retribution. Sadly, that is not the case for people living in some parts of the world today. Yesterday’s incident should serve as a reminder of the freedoms that most of us do enjoy, even when they are being tested.

Nous somme tous Charlie.

As always, feel free to share your thoughts below. But please be aware that any overtly abusive, offensive or disrespectful comments will be deleted.