Thirty-four of my LEGO sculptures, created 2010-2017, are on display at the George Caleb Bingham Gallery at the University of Missouri right now. These include five bronze pieces as well.
Since I was a child, LEGOs have been a staple in my creative habits. Often, when I am met with some creative block, when I am disillusioned, or when I simply need a change, LEGOs are my go-to outlet. They offer a kind of open-ended opportunity to make things without any conceits or justifications. Usually, at least for me, this kind of building amounts to a formal exercise within certain boundaries. After all, LEGOs are a finite tool. They have limited application and range. In spite of this, however, they allow for many hours of engagement and a diversity of resolution. LEGOs really are a creative partner in my life.
Over the last 10 years or so I’ve been interested in a number of practitioners of contemporary sculpture and their work has influenced how I have played with my LEGOs. First and foremost is Vincent Fecteau, who crafts strange, small sculptures that exhibit a wonderful sense of hidden interior space. Additionally, Barry Le Va’s dark and geometric wall and floor installations (and the awesome drawings for those installations) are also important to me. Didier Vermeiren’s solemn, dense sculptural works manifest a kind of austerity and clarity that challenges me. These artists (among many others) inspire me to play with associations of form and color, as well as with the implications of scale. Fecteau in particular has strongly influenced all of my work over the last 6 or 8 years.
The sculptures collected here, both those made of standard LEGOs and those crafted in bronze, are meant to function like poems of form: slight, strange, awkward, yet solid in a sense. In them I have gone through an iterative process of placement and association. In my mind, it’s all shape dynamics and formal play. These miniatures have stimulated my paintings, drawings, and prints for a long time. At this point I see them as part of my overall work, though definitely a part that’s still in development.
Back in 2008 Jason Kottke created a LEGO version of Stephen Hawking. Over the years this construction (called in LEGO parlance, a “build”) took on a life of its own, and has probably now been seen on every computer in existence that is connected to the internet. It was even available on Amazon.com as a kit for a while (I think this was a version 2.0 build).
I figured it was time for me to create my own LEGO Stephen Hawking, so take a look below. I decided to deviate quite a bit from Kottke’s, particularly in the construction of the chair. Hawking has had quite a few different chairs over the years, and many different configurations of the hardware he’s got installed. I tried to make a combination of various chairs. For the body I followed Kottke’s instructions, but I’m in the midst of a second version that takes a different approach to some of the body form.
Anyway, I hope you like it. If any of our heroes is worth being immortalized in LEGO, it’s Hawking.
I know that my Star Trek nerdiness isn’t appreciated by everyone, but the heart loves what it loves. I recently came upon a fan-based starship design that is really striking and interesting. This is the Chariot Class – click the image to go over to a full post of renderings on the Trekazoid blog. This ship was designed by Chris Reyes and modeled by Howard Day over at Scifi-Meshes and appears to be connected to the USS Excalibur designed by concept artist Ryan Dening (see the Excalibur here). Reyes doesn’t have his own website, but his work is posted widely. Here is his original sketch for the Chariot Class from 2004, and below it a more recent digital model of the craft:
Trekazoid also features some nice renderings of schematics for the ship (version #1, version #2), as well as a master systems display. Cool stuff.
Though I’ve been working on new Lego Star Trek stuff, I’ve not got anything to post right now. But I’ve been so interested in the Chariot Class that I’ve done a few digital drawings of it and thought I’d post them here. They’re a variation on the overall design and very simple. Perhaps I’ll flesh them out with color later. Anyway, here they are:
These drawings were done using Sketchbook Pro and then vectorized in Adobe Illustrator. Perhaps if my friend Daniel Glosson ever gets tattoos like his brother he could use these designs.
I wanted to try creating an Oberth Class Federation ship and conceived of this one as a refitted/re-purposed version of the classic class of ships that operated in the Star Trek universe from early 2280s through the late 2300s. I see this particular ship (which I’ve christened USS Claudius Galenus after the famous Roman physician) as a modification of the earlier design meant to keep it in service throughout the latter half of the 2300s. Here’s more on the Oberth Class.
Below are some scenes I’ve thrown together – click for larger versions…
In Earth Orbit.
Cruising out of the Saturn System.
In the general environs of the Tarantula Nebula.
You can see more of my Star Trek stuff here:
Some Trek drawings here and here.
It’s a generational thing: my daughter looking up to Captain Picard…
There’s an interesting piece over on The Morning News about how families who play with Legos often develop their own vernacular terminology for the specific types of pieces. See it here.
I won’t get too specific, but my favorite bits are the fiddly pieces that let me join the female sides of two pieces together…
Seen in these images is a Star Trek-style ship I made of Legos. Rock. Or rather, Clip, Snap.