Nathan Sawaya is an American artist who uses LEGO as the medium for his art. His exhibition, The Art of The Brick, has moved from America and is enjoying a short residency at the Old Truman Brewery in Brick Lane (how wonderfully ironic!!) Some of his art is really well known, “Yellow” being an example.
I was fortunate to be able to get along and see it – and it is an amazing exhibition. Unlike LEGO shows where people showcase their work on portable tables, this is an art gallery and the LEGO is a medium for art. It’s the difference between going to a comicbook show and seeing a show of Roy Lichtenstein’s work. What this means is that (I felt) that there were more than a few peoples perceptions challenged.
I was also able to be able to take photographs – so I have a huge collection of images (don’t worry, I won’t share them all!). What I was also able to do (once back home amongst my bricks :) ) was to try and recreate his works… but in minifigure size! In most cases though, what I constructed was from memory rather than reference to the actual pictures – so you will notice that some are “the wrong way round” or not to the same scale – and that’s fine, these are my versions inspired by rather than duplicates of.
On the way out (past the tables where you could release your inner builder / artist) I of course wandered round the gift shop. By the exit I noted that you could buy your own piece of Nathan Sawaya art – a skull, in Red, Blue or Green. Now, whilst the opportunity to buy genuine art is always great, I did think that this art would just blend into my collection – and that I should really be able to do this myself. I did ask if there were instructions that I could buy – I was told that I wasn’t the first person to ask, but I could take pictures if I wanted? What an opportunity! The lady even took the skull out of the perspex case so I could take photographs from all angles…
So, here’s what I think may be “top tips” for model photography:
- Allow the picture to tell the story wherever possible; not everyone speaks the same language as you
- Take the photograph considering Point of View – in the case above, we are at the same height as the characters, allowing us to be part of it all.
- Get the best angle to “hide your cheats” – the Xray machine is made in two unconnected parts and … the patient is only a set of legs…
I was thinking of a picture for the letter “S” (for the month’s instagram picture a day challenge that I am doing) … My thoughts went to “S is for Spooky”. I put the figures onto this board which has lights that change colour – Sue immediately said “Oh, Staying Alive!” I then realised that this was a great play on words!