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.
This month’s community cover photo features a mind-bendingly detailed alchemist workshop by Markus Rollbühler. Look carefully, and you might think that he’s used Photoshop to mirror one side of the image. A cheeky way to save bricks! However, look even more carefully at the shadows and reflections and you’ll realize it’s not a digital trick, but a full LEGO creation with perfect symmetry.
The immaculate photography complements such an expertly crafted creation. I wonder if the alchemist who resides here is creating such a symmetrical scene through some kind of magic, or are they just OCD?
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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.
Symmetry in art is a funny thing. It is the cause of much disagreement. Some find it fascinating and perfect, while others see it as unnatural and repetitive. I fall squarely in the first camp. I find symmetry and the attention to it in art to be fascinating. Two of my favorite directors, Wes Anderson and Stanley Kubrick, deal heavily in symmetry to great effect. Builder Markus Rollbühler taps into this form with great aplomb and gives us a LEGO creation that is quite beautiful and fascinating to examine.
At first, I thought perhaps there was some visual tricky going on here, but closer examination reveals this to be a fully realized, symmetrical model brimming with detail. There is some really fun parts usage, like Minnie Mouse’s skirt for the planters in the front and those beautiful purple potion bottles. The treasure chests as table legs are another nice touch. It should also be noted that those brick walls aren’t just stacked bricks! They are actually tiles placed on SNOT (Studs Not On top) pieces, providing a much more dimensional and realistic look to the walls. Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go stare at this photo some more and revel in the perfect symmetry of the world between those walls.