The Art of the Brick

Emily Hayes (November 05, 2015)
he American artist Nathan Sawaya is currently in the ancient city of Rome, showcasing his rather modern large-dimension Lego block sculptures. Located in the Spazio Eventi Tirso (SET) gallery, the show “The Art of Brick” opened this past Wednesday, October 28.

Sawaya attended NYU School of Law and became an attorney. However, tired of sitting in a boardroom negotiating contracts, Sawaya rediscovered the beloved Lego bricks and began to create what is believed to be a revolutionary new art form. It became a way for him to unwind after a long workday.

Born in Colville, Washington and raised in Veneta, Oregon, Sawaya’s creative childhoodconsisted of drawing cartoons, writing stories, and of course playing with Legos.

Years later, he has over 4 million of the tiny, colored bricks in his studios in New York City and Los Angeles. Sawaya started a webpage for his 3-dimensional sculptures, and before long he began receiving orders on commission.  

Each sculpture takes about three weeks to complete, and his exhibition includes over 80 of his works. This painstaking form of art is beautiful and playful, and elevates an ordinary toy to the level of fine art.  

"I believe that my works capture the public because Legos are familiar toys. So I propose art that's democratic and accessible to everyone, in which everyone can find his own approach" Sawaya said to ANSA News in an interview.  

These eye-catching exhibits include recreations of classical masterpieces, such as the Venus de Milo and the Parthenon, which took precisely 30,201 Legos to build.

Recreations like the Mona Lisa or The Kiss by Klimt “bring children closer to art history, thanks to a language that is appealing to the whole family” Sawaya told ANSA.  

His touring exhibition has already travelled to Australia, Taiwan, Singapore and China, inspiring artists around the globe. CNN has honored “The Art of the Brick” as “one of the world’s ten must-see exhibitions.” Nathan Sawaya’s ability to reach scale and color perfection, and turn the Lego bricks into something new was an art that Fabio Di Gioia, the show’s curator in Italy was something they “couldn’t deprive” themselves of.

Sawaya continues to create works of art daily, accepting commission work from individuals and corporations requesting works of art that are unique.

"Legos belong to our childhood and Sawaya speaks to our deepest self," Di Gioia said, according to ANSA News.