Back in 1993, Jim Jarmusch directed a short black and white film, Coffee and Cigarettes: Somewhere in California. In it, musicians Iggy Pop and Tom Waits meet at a coffee shop. Then they talk about stuff. It’s worth a watch. There’s just something inherently cool about seeing these two icons having a conversation. What’s even cooler, though, is seeing that conversation recreated in LEGO. Builder Timofey Tkachev has somehow managed to convert Iggy and Tom into perfect brick-built likenesses.
There’s a lot to love about this build. There are dozens of great techniques in play, from the use of 2×2 macaroni tile in the ears to the expert combination of wedge plates in Iggy’s jacket. The relaxed poses are full of complex angles and joins, and Tom’s hair…unf. Just so good.
And the background is just as impressive. Check out the use of transparent tile in the coffee urn, the 90 degree elbows in the coffee cup rims. There’s even a tiny “LEGO News” newspaper 2×2 tile used as small print on the cigarette pack.
Like the film itself, this is a build that rewards the viewer the closer they’re willing to look. I don’t know if I’m inspired or just intimidated.
Continuing our series of behind-the-scenes articles about LEGO Masters, we chatted with Brick Artist Nathan Sawaya in his California studio about how he built all the props for the show, what kind of deadlines he faced, and working with LEGO as a creative medium.
The first half of our interview (conducted jointly with Brickset) focuses on his work with LEGO Masters and serving as their “brick artist in residence.” The second half discusses his personal views on LEGO as a whole, his traveling LEGO installation “Art of the Brick,” and how he went from an NYC lawyer to an LA artist.
Read our interview with LEGO Masters brick artist in residence Nathan Sawaya
These days it’s pretty impossible to escape exposure to a Disney product. They own the lion’s share of today’s biggest themes and properties. (Was that an oblique Lion King joke? You bet it was.) But, before they owned Marvel…and Star Wars…and everything else, Disney created their own in-house characters, too. Like Mickey Mouse. You’ve heard of him, right? Cool. But how about Oswald the Lucky Rabbit?
…Yeah, that one stumped me too. It turns out Oswald starred in 27 animated shorts back in 1927 or so. He made a return in 2010’s Epic Mickey video game. Still managed to fly under my radar, though. Luckily, Bruce Lowell didn’t overlook Oswald. And, as a result, we get an amazing LEGO recreation of this possibly-not-quite-iconic character. The expert use of rounded tiles recreates the distinctive facial styling. Even if you don’t know the character, you know this guy has to be part of the Mickey Mouse Club.
Bruce was inspired by Paul Lee’s 2010 Mickey Mouse build. Paul was inspired in that build by Bruce’s sphere technique. What goes around comes around! (Get it? Round? Like a sphere? Oh, nevermind…)
Baby Yoda continues to infatuate the people of the internet, LEGO fans included. We still don’t know if it actually is a baby Yoda or a baby Yaddle, perhaps it’s just a Yiddle for now. And while we’ve shared a few already, we here at the Brothers Brick can’t get enough Baby Yoda creations. Wilson Du is the latest builder to fascinate us with his version. Recreated for the most part with pieces from the current buildable Yoda set 75255 (US $99.99 | CAN $139.99 | UK £89.99), though with substantially improved eyes, this model was his first creation in 25 years! And more than just being a beautiful sculpture, this little buddy has posable hands to hold a piping hot soup or reach out with the Force. I’m most impressed with how well the chin and mouth have been constructed here, with an expression that’s just begging for chicky nuggies and choco milk.
Lately, between The Mandalorian and The Rise of Skywalker, the LEGO building community has seen a great wealth of fan creations based on all things Star Wars. This is not, in itself, a bad thing. I mean, Baby Yoda is indeed very cute. But it’s still nice when a builder will take things in a very unexpected direction. Let’s say you have a 75117 Kylo Ren set on hand. Sure, you could build it according to the directions and act out your favorite Dark Side moments. But Letranger Absurde decided to take those parts and present a very different Dark Side vision. The Blood Countess takes key parts from that set and turns them into a vision of malice that is, to me anyway, just a bit scarier.
The most obvious part is Kylo’s torso, inverted and used for the Countess’ abdomen. Less easy to identify are the shoulder guards now forming her bodice. Of the non-kit parts in use, I like the Ninjago influence in the hat for the belt buckle and spinner ring in the sash detailing. Beyond the Countess herself, check out the build on the heart (or other glob of flesh) in her hand. There’s a telephone receiver in there. Is the secret message of this build “reach out and touch someone?” Gosh, I hope not.
(With apologies to Prince)
I was dreamin’ when I wrote this, so forgive me if it goes astray. When I saw this MOC I could have sworn it was judgment day. The guy was all golden, there was LEGO lightning everywhere. Transparent yellow radar dishes, you know Matt Goldberg really cared.
Something something……Tonight we’re gonna party with the creepy Eye?
Okay, so maybe the lyrics don’t exactly scan, but being just a little off-kilter seems very appropriate for a review of this creation. The Eye is a mysterious figure that really grabs your attention. A skillful mix of Bionicle, Hero Factory, and System parts combine in way that meshes well, while at the same time feeling like things don’t exactly align correctly for this reality.
Matt built this as a Secret Santa gift. You have to hope the recipient was impressed. Maybe a little frightened. Maybe a bit of both.
LEGO element 2417, the 6×5 plant leaf, is a part that lends itself well to multiple uses. Many go the traditional route and use it as part of a tree. Sometimes it winds up as part of an alien creature. My favorite uses, though, are when a builder takes a bunch of them and creates complex patterns. Azurekingfisher is a builder who has shown great skill in this area before. But today, they take that skill-set and apply it at an entirely new level. In White Bird the geometric shapes have been joined with sculptural elements to create a bird that is simply stunning.
The bird’s body has some nice part usage as well, bringing in textures from parts like open-stud 1×1 round plates for the eyes, and a turntable base on the chest. The touch of gold from the tooth plates as claws adds just a touch of opulence to the build. If this is just a step in Azurekingfisher’s building career, I can’t wait to see where they head next.
When you know what you’re doing, LEGO elements create some very interesting patterns and shapes. Builder Azurekingfisher knows what they’re doing. In mobile sculpture, rings and snowflake-like shapes are created from a complex repetition of plant leaves in a variety of hues. Add Technic rods and connectors to hang them from, and you have an art installation just waiting to happen.
Take a closer look at this wintry LEGO mobile
All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. Maybe what Jack needs is to take a break and play with some LEGO. Then again…maybe not. Timofey Tkachev brings us a twist on an iconic image from The Shining with “Here’s Johnny!” An instantly recognizable Jack Nicholson breaks through a door…but since the door is made of LEGO, he’s using a brick separator. Because of course he is.
There’s a lot to love about the build here. Elephant trunks have just the right shaping for Jack’s eyebrows, and an energy effect wave makes for a great bit of unkempt hair. Tiles are used to great effect, with quarter circle round tiles shaping the nose, and white half circles forming his insane grin. The really scary part of this build, though, is that somehow it just took a single evening to put together. That’s spooky fast!
It might be an accurate statement to say that Jason Allemann is having the best month ever. First he was our keynote speaker at BrickCon, where he also designed the commemorative model that we featured here. And now he…or rather JK Brickworks, has completed a series with this model. Why the distinction? Jason is merely the “J” half of JK Brickworks. “K” stands for Kristal and she is the driving force behind this model that is the final part of a trio of sculptures that explore the human mind. The first model, which can be seen at The LEGO House in Billund, explores the mind of an artist. The second sculpture explores the mind of an engineer. This third sculpture, however, might be the most therapeutic for a lot of us. It delves deep and gives us a peek inside a tortured mind.
Click here to delve deeper.
When I was little, one of my favorites nick-nacks was filled with water, a plastic carrot and a few tiny pieces of plastic “coal,” and was labeled “Florida Snowman.” (Look, trust me here. This was hilarious when I was six years old.) I’ve always had a fondness for snow globes. In unrelated trivia, I was also a big Spider-Man fan. I never dreamed, though, that both of those childhood loves would come crashing together. Builder Flambo14 changed all that with a fun LEGO build inspired by Spider-Man: Far From Home. In this creation, Mysterio’s trademark fishbowl-dome head is a LEGO Christmas ornament filled with 1×1 round plates for snow. You’ll aslo find a simple-but-effective microscale New York City skyline and, of course, Spider-Man himself. There’s even a sand-green minifigure telescope as an itty-bitty Statue of Liberty.
Mysterio’s torso has some fun details, too. I like the use of the minifigure ring to help create the eyeball-patterns present on the cape clasps. The smoothness of the wedges used to construct the cape makes the exposed-stud build of the chest feel much more textured, just like the movie’s costume design. There’s also just the right touch of other gold elements to give him a bit of showmanship.
I’d love to see a whole series of Mysterio snow globes. If anyone else takes a swing at one, let us know!
Prolific LEGO builders scatter our desktops with inspiration constantly, showing us more with each coming build. Miro Dudas has been doing such for me for quite a while, with his Woodland Creatures Collection. His newest accomplishment, simply titled Buck, brings another to said collection, leaving me wanting this on my shelf too. The regal stag is such a strong animal, in muscle and stance as the king of the forest.
Dudas’ rendition, though heavily inspired by Joe Perez’s impressive Stag from earlier this year, stands on its own accord. The reddish brown coat with tufts of white are nice adjustments to his inspiration but it’s those antlers, made predominantly from small bony appendages and mechanical arms, that bring this build into a realistic zone. I don’t know about anyone else but when I first saw this, I instantly wanted to see two of them standing off with horns locked..
If you’re more sci-fi inclined, maybe check out Miro Dudas’ fury little Wicket..