July 10, 1973 |
Colville, Washington, United States
When I was in South Africa, I was meeting with people who never heard of Lego bricks. And yet, when I was like, 'Here they are,' they immediately got it. They saw the appeal, were snapping bricks and creating their little creations right there immediately.
I split my commission and personal work about 50 per cent each. It is important to get that balance in life.
I'm an independent artist, but I do have a good business relationship with Lego, since I'm a unique customer. They're aware of what I'm doing. A painter may not have a relationship with a paint maker, but there's only one company that makes Lego.
I've made a bit of a career taking daunting projects out of Lego. I've done things like a dinosaur skeleton and stuff like that.
Kids can't build a marble statue at home. But I've had parents tell me that, after an exhibit, their kids immediately dug out their Lego kits and disappeared for three days.
My work sells for £10,000-plus, but my most lucrative piece was a private project that was sold for more than six figures -dollars, that is. The process of the Lego can take weeks, months, or even days. Each one I deliver to specification to each gallery because they want them brought to them fully formed.
I see the world in rectangles. If I am talking to someone, I find myself analysing their face, working out how to recreate it in bricks.
I think watching Channing Tatum caress his Lego Oscar statue will be something I won't forget. Even if I try.
'The Art of the Brick' is an exhibition I've done where I've taken some works of art from art history and replicated them all out of Lego bricks.
I was looking to explore the theme of good and evil, so what better inspiration than the comics? I'd developed a relationship with DC and Warner Bros. when I donated a sculpture of Catwoman to the 'We Can Be Heroes' campaign a few years ago. That's what started it.
There was a time when I was practicing law in New York and I wanted to find something else to do. So I ended up leaving the practice of law to pursue my art and it just happened to be out of Lego bricks.
I am confined to the Lego palate. I don't paint the bricks. I stick with what Lego has made. And the idea behind that is I do want to hopefully inspire kids to go home and create on their own. And if I do, I want them to be able to buy those very same bricks I use. So I don't alter the bricks; I just use what's provided.
I do hear from people at my exhibition about seeing these things made from this toy from their childhood, and it brings them back. They'll go and buy a set of Lego from the gift shop because of that nostalgia and seeing it at the art exhibition.
So many people have asked me about getting their own LEGO Oscar that I submitted it to LEGO Ideas so that everyone has the ability to get one.
If I'm creating a free-form piece of art, I can make it look like anything I want, and nobody will say it's wrong.
What do young, budding artists do, but go to law school? I had creative periods now and again, but it wasn't until I was practicing law that I really needed a creative outlet. I'd come home from long days at the office and draw, paint, and sculpt from clay, wire – even candy.
I have about 4 million Lego bricks. And then a few million in storage in case something comes up. I still pay for them. I buy my bricks just like everyone else. It's by far my biggest capital expense.
There's a fun, nostalgic aspect to Legos – people connect to the art on a different level. But it's also a medium that lets me design anything I can imagine. I especially enjoy creating curvy forms using rectangular pieces. Up close, you notice the sharp angles, but when you back away, the corners blend into curves.
The team behind 'The Lego Movie' approached me. They wanted to do something extra special for the Academy Award performance of best song nominee 'Everything is Awesome.' They had seen my earlier version of a Lego Oscar statue, and I was happy to take on the challenge.