The art of the brick

SHOREDITCH, LONDON – I was interested to see the ‘Art of the Brick’ exhibition in Shoreditch earlier this year after seeing several posters on the London underground with this image on it.

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I was really intrigued at how someone could create such striking images with LEGO bricks that were playful but also beautiful.

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The artist is New Yorker Nathan Sawaya a former attorney and the first artist to take LEGO into the art world. He worked for LEGO for six months as a LEGO artist starting in 2004 and then left to open his own art studio in the same year.

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He’s been so successful that  he’s turned the hobby into a full time job and gets exhibited around the world.

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This exhibition has been exceptionally popular in London and as it involves LEGO, it attracts a lot of kids and families… if you want to experience this exhibit in quiet go during kid unfriendly hours.

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Although I must say, I think a lot of the children get excited after seeing this exhibition as they realise what potential there is in a little LEGO brick. And so after you leave the gallery area, you pass through the gift shop which has plenty of LEGO to simply play with or purchase.

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And in case you’re wondering why he uses LEGO, here’s what Nathan Sawaya had to say: “I like using LEGO bricks as a medium because I enjoy seeing people’s reaction to artwork created from something with which they are familiar. …My goal is to elevate this simple plaything to a place it has never been before. I also appreciate the cleanliness of the LEGO® brick. The right angles. The distinct lines. But, from a distance, those right angles and distinct lines offer new perspectives, changing to curves.” 

The Art of the Brick exhibit is open until April 2015 so there’s still time to check it out.

What’s another unusual medium for art? Can you recommend any other art exhibits in London?

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Stumbled upon: Street art…on steroids

LONDON – Turns out Shoreditch is covered in graffiti. A simple walk along the  high street and you’ll find a ton of ‘street art’ that’s edgy and interesting and full on vandalism of public spaces. I did a quick google search of graffiti in London and found a website, http://streetartlondon.co.uk/,  that’s dedicated to covering the latest from the street-art crowd. I’m still torn. Should I accept this art form or shun it because it’s vandalism of public property? Recently, some moron spraypainted a wall near my apartment and I’m confident in saying that it’s not ‘art’ but simply some hoodie just tagging his territory…

Anyway, I do find a lot of the street art thoughtful and provocative and mostly aggressive. Obviously Banksy is the most well known street artist in London but he’s not the only one in town who’s got something to say or express on public property. Here are just a few that I spotted around town.

Take a look at this one. If you don’t slow down you’ll miss it. Can you make out what it is?

I like the lamppost but who is the figure in the chair or the man on the left? Are those two lions?

This one was nearby and I only just spotted it as it’s quite small and a bit worn.

Here’s a closer look.Looks like a man standing on one leg, though some of it’s removed. I can’t quite make out the object on the right.

Here’s another one I liked. His expression looks morose and even a bit threatening.

Here are a few more. What story are they telling?

How do these guys decide on what they’re going to create?

Some of these are just exploding with colour.

I’m assuming these are all done by guys. What would a woman create if she had a can of spray paint?