As a child, I had no talent when it came to Legos. I was always astounded by the sense of patience and craft people who were skilled at building with them seemed to possess. I thought I’d seen some good Lego sculptures in my day, and I suppose I had… until I heard about Nathan Sawaya. He is the subject of this article, and he has taken the art of building with Legos to an extreme I previously could not have imagined; an extreme that exceeds all former limitations.
Nathan Sawaya is specifically known for making remarkably complicated 3D Lego masterpieces. He was the guy who mass-produced Oscar trophies made out of them for this year’s Academy Awards (picture on right). Apparently fond of using his Lego talents to benefit special occasions, he used them this year for the 80th anniversary of DC Comics, to construct… wait for it… the Batmobile!
And I know what you’re thinking… big deal, right? If you like Batman and have ever used Legos, you’ve probably made some kind of Batmobile at least once. But not like this guy. His model is eighteen feet long, totally realistic, and even has some believable-looking flames shooting out the back of it (see below). It may be some of Sawaya’s finest work; a fact which is probably related to his passion for the subject. As he told Entertainment Weekly, “This is a dream project. This is the Batmobile! What other vehicle is so iconic?” A question which I’m afraid, Mr. Sawaya, I cannot answer.
It was not Sawaya’s sheer natural-born talent that fostered the production of the first life-sized Batmobile made of Legos, though. It took hard work, too. Sawaya hacked away at his creation for over two months. He also had a little help. He went in depth about the collaborative aspect of the process, saying, “For the Batmobile in particular, I collaborated with [DC co-publisher] Jim Lee, who was so gracious to actually draw live at a panel at Comic Con for a design of a new Batmobile while we were taking suggestions from the audience.”
Sawaya also explained, “So as that was how this all started. I used his drawing as a bit of a blueprint to come up with the actual Lego structure and then created this Batmobile brick by brick.”
It seems the hard work paid off. Not only did his work prove to be a viral sensation, it will be featured at the Powerhouse Museum in Sydney, Australia, this November. It will also be featured in his latest art exhibition, “The Art of Brick: DC Comics.”
If one were to take anything from Sawaya’s story, it would hopefully be that hard work mixed with passion can yield amazing results. There is inspiration all around us; you just have to find what inspires you most. Or as Sawaya puts it, “Sometimes it’s as simple as walking around the city and seeing something, or sometimes, fortunately I have multiple exhibitions, which means I do get to travel a bit. And using that travel, I get to experience different cultures, different people. I actually carry a little sketchpad with me wherever I go, so I can jot down ideas and so I can explore those ideas and pull on my own emotions and own journeys for inspiration.”
Basically, the world is big. Go find which parts of it excite you the most. ‘Nuff said.