How fun is this? A new hardcover book of artwork? And just in time from the holidays. Here’s the description I just happened to find on Amazon:
The Art of Nathan Sawaya takes readers through a visual journey into the awe-inspiring and groundbreaking world of contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya. Sawaya’s art exemplifies the magic of creation as he is best-known for his ability to capture the imagination with his sculptures made entirely out of LEGO(R) bricks. This hardcover, full-color pictorial showcases Sawaya’s profound and unparalleled ability to transform the iconic simple toy building block into meaningful and emotional artwork. LEGO-lovers and art-lovers alike will be inspired to create after experiencing The Art of Nathan Sawaya.
Wow, that sounds great. And look, you can buy it here.
We are excited to bring you this new iteration of Nathan Sawaya’s website including new search features for the gallery (such as searching by color or key words). If you want to see only blue art you can, or maybe you just want to see famous folks built out of LEGO, you got it!
Plus, this updated version will adapt to all your devices whether you are catching up on the latest LEGO art on your PC, iPad, phone or other mobile devices. Now you can take Nathan with you where ever you go.
A lot of your favorite features remain, including blog updates and the latest schedule for The Art of the Brick tours. Thanks for checking it out!
Zeitgeist is German for “the spirit of the times.” I took German in school, but it didn’t prepare me for the passionate spirit and great minds of our times that were collectively present at Google Zeitgeist 2011 this week. The conference included so many marquee names that I could never list them all, but I also will never forget that I shared my personal journey and the stage that day with Cory Booker, Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Sir Richard Branson, Neil Turok, Scooter Braun and Tony Hawk. Other speakers included Arianna Huffington, Ted Koppel, Eike Batista, Chelsea Clinton, Celine & Fabien Cousteau, Deepak Chopra and Mark Cuban. It was humbling to be ask to present and I was honored to speak along side them. As requested – I told my story, focused on the transition from lawyer to artist, and highlighted how “The Art of the Brick” exhibitions are opening up the art world to children around the world through a familiar medium. I discovered more in three days in Scottsdale than I did in German class, and now I truly understand the meaning of Zeitgeist. (Many of these amazing talks can be viewed on Youtube, enjoy. )
Here is a little video showing some of the behind the scenes action during the creation of the lions for the NYPL. Yes, that is glue that I am using. I wanted to make sure the LEGO lions stayed together permanently while on display. The original marble lions have been around for 100 years. I figure my plastic versions will be around for thousands of years. Go plastic!
I always knew I was different, some might even say unusual. Well it’s now official. Last Saturday night I was awarded the “Most Creative Unusual Artist” by the Society of Unique Artists in New York. I attended the event with my long-time girlfriend, Courtney, who is not really very unusual, except for the fact that she chooses to hang out with me. Which may or may not be unusual. I was up against some very qualified and talented fellow artists including Calvin Nicholls for his paper art, Huang Taisheng for his leaf art carving and Robert Lang for his origami art. It was an honor to win and I am grateful that the Society is promoting the field of choosing unusual media and non-traditional artforms. They were held at the Jerome L. Greene Center in Soho and were hosted by television personality Danielle Guldin. Thank you to the Society for a truly unusual evening.
Okay, so I am a little nervous. After four years of successfully touring North America, The Art of the Brick(R) exhibition is going Down Under. Opening in Melbourne on June 2 at Federation Square, I am going to see how LEGO fine art translates into Australian. Will Aussie’s like LEGO art? Will the bricks stick together down there? Do I rent or buy a kangaroo? How long is the flight? No, really, how long?
I am attending the opening so hopefully I will answer my own questions by then. I look forward to meeting new folks and bringing my artwork to a new continent.
I like to tell stories with my art. If I was ever going to leave the LEGO world, I would still want to tell stories and would probably pursue making movies. So, to that end, I am excited to announce a new project and collaboration. I am producing a new film with a magical twist. I will be collaborating with filmmakers Chris Nash and Martin Anthony, along with writer-producer Luiza Almeida. Part of my role will be designing some brick artwork for the film.
For those of you in Paris, I’m excited to be participating in a new exhibition at the Spot Gallery. The show is called Gimmick, and I will let those attending to figure out why. I will be debuting a new artwork that has a certain je ne sais quoi.
Here is another look at the project I am working on with famed photographer Dean West. This video was brilliantly shot and edited by Adam Beck and captures footage from a day of the project. Brick fans, be warned, there is very little LEGO appearing in this clip.
I will be displaying some brand new works, and some old favorites. I might even build a thing or two. I will also have art books and coloring books for sale. And some new small sculptures for sale too!
It will all be on display at the Brick Artist booth #401 near the south entrance of Javits.
Agora Gallery Exhibition – November 23-December 14, 2010
I will have a brand new exhibition of sculptures for sale at the Agora Gallery next month. The show is called “RED: The LEGO Brick Sculpture of Nathan Sawaya.”
Come by the reception Thursday, December 2, 2010, 6-8 pm. I’ll be chatting about my artwork and answering questions.
Happy to annnounce that I will be signing copies of my new coloring book at Comic-Con today and tomorrow. If you are around, stop by the TwoMorrows Publishing booth, #1301, from 4-5pm on Thursday or Friday for a chance to be the first to own my new coloring book.
For those of you not attending Comic-Con, you can always order your copy of the coloring book here.
The coloring book was brilliantly illustrated by Len Peralta, famous for his fantastic Geek-A-Week card set. I am personally drawn to #10, but check out his latest addition #20: Mythbuster Adam Savage.
So get out your crayons and color in my brick-filled story. It is full of pictures and puzzles for artists of all ages.
I recently met Shane Dawson, the legendary YouTube celebrity, in person in LA. Now I may not be the most socially adept person, because in my mind what better way to interact with someone than to simply build a brick version of them? So that’s what I did: a brick version of Shane Dawson. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the project, as well as a video of the entire event.
And now the real challenge: Who should I make next? Submit your ideas here and maybe I will be building your choice in the next video.
So I work with LEGO bricks every day. Every single day, I snap together bricks. Each day I am pressing down on the bumps of each brick to make sure there is a tight fit. And if I press real hard, the bumps leave little marks on myfingers and thumb. What better way to pay tribute to my medium of choice, then permanently inking those marks on to my thumb? Hence my new tattoo.
Thanks to tat artist Jasen and the folks at King Ink for not laughing too much at my request.
I have been working on a top secret project with famed photographer Dean West for the past several months. Nothing to show yet other than these productions photos, but hopefully we will have something soon.
If there is one thing I have learned about Dean, it is that he likes to climb on top of things to take photos.
Being called a geek. An insult? A compliment? I’m going with ‘Awesome!’ I am now officially card number ten of the Geek-A-Week Trading Card deck. My card has been released today, and with an ode to the Terminator, I look half-man half-brickman.
I now join the likes of some very famous geeks including last week’s release, famed director Kevin Smith, Card #2 Fred Seibert (father of the Powerpuff Girls and Nick-at-Nite) and Card #3 Veronica Belmont (host of Qore and Tekzilla).
Len Peralta did a fantastic job with the card, with Storm of Paul and Storm writing the brilliant copy. Great job guys!
Last month Heather Mak of the website, Five Takeaways, asked me to write the Five Takeaways of LEGO®. Here’s what I came up with:
LEGO can take you anywhere.
I started doing large scale sculptures out of LEGO bricks about ten years ago. I had sculpted with more traditional media, but I wanted to explore using a toy from my childhood as an art medium. The sculptures got a pretty good response from friends and family, so I put photos of them up on my website, brickartist.com. Soon after, I was getting commissions from folks around the world. Within a few years, I was a full time LEGO artist. Since then, I have put together museum exhibitions and gallery shows all over the globe. I have been asked to send sculptures to Hong Kong, Dubai, Paris, London, Singapore, even Kansas City. I never dreamed that creating with LEGO would take me to places like Hawaii, Stockholm or Appleton, Wisconsin, or even as a guest on the The Colbert Report and Mythbusters. I got to design a LEGO room on Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. And weirdest of all, my LEGO artwork actually became a category on the game show, Jeopardy!
There is no cheating in LEGO.
I don’t know how many times folks have come up to me and said “Are you gluing your bricks? Well that’s cheating!” And I wonder to myself, “Are you the LEGO referee?” The thing is LEGO bricks hold together remarkable well. They are an amazing construction tool. But my sculptures are shipped around the world. And the shipping process can take a toll on any artwork. I find that museums get kind of grumpy when I ship them a sculpture and they receive a box of loose LEGO bricks (and a note reading ‘some assembly required’). So to make sure my sculptures arrive in one piece, I glue them together. This is not cheating. Anything one does creatively with LEGO cannot be considered cheating. In fact, the only way there might be cheating in LEGO is if one was to use only Lincoln Logs.
There is nothing that cannot be built out of LEGO.
When I was a child and wanted to get a dog, my folks didn’t let me, so I built myself a dog. It was multi-colored, and of course being built out of those rectangular bricks, it was a bit boxy in places. I called it a boxer.
LEGO is a versatile medium. As a toy, it lets your imagination rule the day. Growing up, if I wanted to pretend to be a rock star, I could build myself a guitar. If I wanted to pretend to be an astronaut, I could build myself a rocket.
As an artist LEGO is a great medium for creating anything I can imagine. I still use those same rectangular plastic bricks that I had as a child, but now I try and use them in a way that hasn’t been seen before. By taking the bricks and making them more of an art medium rather than only a toy.
By using LEGO as an art medium, I have been able to put together an entire museum exhibit that is currently touring North America. It has become a very popular exhibit as both kids and adults are attracted to the idea of artwork created solely out of LEGO.
I truly believe that I can create anything out of LEGO bricks.
4. 1.5 million LEGO bricks are not enough.
The LEGO company says that there are 62 LEGO bricks for every person on the planet. That means there is a pretty big group of people who are missing some bricks all because of me. As an artist, I want to make sure I have enough bricks on hand that I can build whatever I can think of, at any time. That means I have to keep an art studio full of bricks in all shapes and colors. They are all arranged by size, and are in clear plastic bins lined up on shelves based on color. Walking into my studio is a little like walking into a rainbow. I need all those bricks because who knows what I might be creating next: a life-size human form, a replica of New Orleans, maybe even a full size boat? Just in case, my studio in New York City houses about 1.5 million bricks at any given time. And as I use the bricks up, I have to keep that inventory up to date, so I am ordering new bricks monthly. I don’t know if that means there are less or more bricks for everyone on the planet.
The LEGO art movement has begun.
One of the most common questions people ask me is “How can I get your job?” I tell them just to go do it. I am an independent artist, and I use LEGO bricks as my art medium. Creating art is my passion. It can take weeks to create a LEGO sculpture, but I fall into an almost trance while I’m working and creating. Many of my works center on the phenomena of how everyday life, people and raw emotion are intertwined. Often my art is a reenactment of my personal feelings. I am inspired by my own experiences, emotions and the journeys I am taking.
I use this as LEGO as a medium because I enjoy seeing people’s reactions to artwork created from something with which they are familiar. Everyone can relate to it since it is a toy that many children have at home. I want to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the medium. The right angles. The distinct lines. As so often in life, it is a matter of perspective. Up close, the shape of the brick is distinctive. But from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines change to curves.
Many people write to me and tell me they are going to become LEGO artists themselves. They send me photos of their sculptures and creations. It looks to me like a new art movement has begun. I call it the LEGO art movement, and don’t be surprised if five or ten years from now they will be teaching it in art classes.
For those of you who haven’t been following my tweets, I flew to northern Europe last week for what was to be a one and half day trip. Because of one volcano, I have been stuck here for six extra days. I’m biding my time in Amsterdam, taking in the museums for the art and the Heineken for inspiration. Haven’t been able to work on many sculptures yet, but if i don’t get a flight out of here soon, I think I will open an art studio here shortly. Something near the Nieuwmarkt maybe?
Ever wonder what the inside of Nathan’s mind might be like? Here is your chance to get a glimpse. Nathan Sawaya will be showcasing some of his most personal works at the Agora Gallery in New York City.
The exhibition, titled “BRICK BY BRICK: The LEGO Brick Sculpture of Nathan Sawaya” will be from March 23-April 13, 2010. The opening reception is Thursday, March 25 from 6pm to 8pm.
The gallery is located at 530 West 25th Street, near Tenth Avenue. The gallery is open Tuesday – Saturday, 11am – 6pm.
UPDATE: After thousands of you voted online as to what I should build next, you decided I should make a Famous Landmark. And since more people suggested I build Mt. Rushmore than any other landmark, I finally settled on the famous mountain carving.
So finally, after months and months, I can finally reveal the winning sculpture from the first “What Should Nathan Make?” adventure. Click here to see it.
After thousands of votes, the results are in and it looks like I will be building a Famous Landmark. I will get started right away, and will hopefully have photos for you soon. Thanks to everyone who took the time to make a suggestion and to vote on the choices.
Poker Hand – 4.0%
Signs of the Zodiac – 5.6%
Chandelier – 7.2%
Real animal* (i.e, panda bear, shark, penguin, etc.) – 7.2%
Melting ice cream cone – 9.1%
Man in a clear box – 11.0%
Fantasy creature* (i.e, dragon, ogre, tooth fairy, etc) – 16.7%
Spilled box of crayons – 18.1%
Famous landmark* (i.e., Mt. Rushmore, Great Wall of China, London Bridge, etc.) – 19.9%
UPDATE: Voting will end appropriately on Tuesday, November 4, 2008, so be sure to vote for what you’d like to see Nathan creating next!
Thanks to everyone for the tons of great comments. As you can see in the photo, I worked hard narrowing down all of the suggestions (and I need a haircut), but in the end I am leaving it up to a vote.
I received tons of great ideas for me to build something from a licensed property (suggestions ranged from Batman to Pokemon and from Star Wars to Stargate, with Halo and Transformers in there too). To avoid risking any legal ramifications, I decided against any licensed properties (Sorry, WALL-E lovers). And although a lot of folks suggested famous people, including some Olympic stars or the next U.S. President, I also crossed out any famous people in general.
In the end, I tried to narrow it down to some random choices that I thought would be fun to make, but I’ll leave it up to you:
This poll is now closed.
I will reveal the winner once I have finished creating it!
I have sculpted some fun things over the years, but I am ready for a new challenge.While I am certainly not out of ideas, I wanted to ask my fans what they would like to see me build next. So what do you think I should create? Let me know in the comment section below. I plan to build the one I like best!
UPDATE: There are so many good ideas, and yes, I have read them all. I am going to pick the finalists the weekend of September 6, so get your final suggestions in before then.
Note, this is not a contest. There are no winners. There are no losers.