Category Archives: Sculptures

LEGO Sculptures

Pink Fractal Tree

This is my first abstract LEGO sculpture. I was inspired by someone (sorry I don’t remember who it is right now) who brought several abstract art pieces to Bricks by the Bay last year made out of the dark pink 1×2 slopes, which were available at the LEGO store Pick-A-Brick wall. I always wanted to do the same and finally I got around to it, producing a series of small fractal models and eventually coming up with this monster.

I built this out of about two Pick-A-Brick cups’ worth of the slopes. It is what I call “lower-case F fractal” in that I don’t know if there’s any math behind it, but it does have self-similarity as I understand it. The basic element is 3 bricks stacked together with one going off to the side, and torqued as far as the slack in the parts will allow. Using that same angle (determined by the slack in the parts) I then built up 5, 10, 20, brick heights following the curve until it meets its neighbor.
Pink Fractal Tree
This picture was taken on the final day of BayLUG‘s exhibit at the Museum of American Heritage in Palo Alto, CA (January 9, 2011) and is a part of a set of photos taken on the last day and during teardown.

LEGO Nutcracker

My latest LEGO model, just in time for Christmas, is the Nutcracker, a classic Christmas icon. In fact, it was built on Christmas Eve!

LEGO Nutcracker

Inspired by the ballet by Alexandre Dumas père (an adaptation of the story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” by E. T. A. Hoffmann), set to music by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky and staged by Marius Petipa. My wife and I saw the San Francisco Ballet version of this last week, and I’ve been wanting to make a LEGO nutcracker ever since. I was going to make a big one, about two feet tall, but haven’t got around to it yet… in the meantime I really like the way this little guy came out.

The mechanism functions pretty well; by lifting his coattails his mouth opens, just like real wooden nutcrackers. Of course, being the size that he is, you can’t crack much of a nut with it, which is probably just as well since it would most likely fall apart in your hands if you tried – LEGO studs’ clutch power is no match for your average nut.

Nutcracker rear Nutcracker front Nutcracker mechanism

Click on any of the images for a bigger view, or go to the Flickr photo set (slideshow)

Merry Christmas!

LEGO, Robert Indiana Style

Inspired by my LEGO version of Robert Indiana’s "LOVE" sculpture, I made another one that spells "LEGO," incorporating different colors for the interior of each letter.

LEGO, Robert Indiana Style

The only hard part design-wise was coming up with a “G” design that matched the other letters, since “LOVE” already provided me with a design for “L,” “E,” and “O.” But structurally, I found it to be much more of a challenge to build the “LEGO” sculpture, largely because the round letters on the bottom didn’t provide nearly as good support for the top letters as the “VE” in “LOVE” did. However, thanks to some very long bricks (1×16 and 2×10) I was able to make it work.

My wife and I discussed the color scheme extensively before we finally decided on the one you see here. I wanted to keep blue and green apart from each other, and I wanted to keep red on the right hand side in case it is displayed next to the “LOVE” sculpture. (Sadly, I don’t have any good photographs of the two together – I didn’t have any place big enough that didn’t have a horrible background – but hopefully I can update later to add one.)

Robert Indiana “LOVE” Sculpture

A LEGO version of Robert Indiana’s iconic "LOVE" sculpture from 1970. Best known for its regular appearance on postage stamps, the original sculpture is on permanent display in Philadelphia and copies are in many cities around the world. Built for the BayLUG "All You Build Is Love" challenge from the February 2009 meeting (which, not to brag, it won).

Robert Indiana LOVE Sculpture

See slideshow or just view the photoset page on Flickr.

The original, for reference:
Love Park in Philadelpha
LOVE Park
in Philadelphia, PA in winter. Photo is looking down the Ben Franklin Parkway to the Philadelphia Museum of Art.

Emiko Oye LEGO “My First Royal Jewels” exhibit

Local artist Emiko Oye has been building jewelry out of LEGO and other recycled materials for a while now. I met her at Maker Faire last spring. She brings a really interesting perspective to LEGO, treating it as a fine art medium rather than as a hobby the way most adult LEGO fans do.

My First Royal JewelsHer latest accomplishment is a solo exhibit at the San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design featuring works inspired by Cartier and Boucheron, early 20th century jewelry, built in LEGO. I haven’t been to see the exhibit yet, but I’m hoping to soon. In the meantime here’s the info:

My First Royal Jewels
Interactive LEGO art exhibition by emiko oye
San Francisco Museum of Craft + Design
550 Sutter St, SF CA 94102
Through Jan 4, 2009

You can see images of the show on her Flickr account, or learn more about her at rewarestyle.com.

WALL-E

I’m a little late into the LEGO Wall-E modeling craze, but when I had the idea of using minfig legs for the head, I couldn’t resist. WALL-E I had the idea when I balanced a minifig on his head on a silicone LEGO coaster and my wife saw it and thought it was WALL-E at first. I thought “Hmm, ya know, those legs do look a little like WALL-E’s eyes….” and went to work.

So this is certainly not the first LEGO version of WALL-E, nor is it the smallest. But I think it’s the only one I’ve ever seen to use minifig legs for a head, and I haven’t seen one that included the cooler that WALL-E used to collect knickknacks.

Click the image for the rest of the pictures, including a disassembled view that shows how it went together. Or try the slideshow.

Miniland Classic Spaceman

My version of a spaceman from the Classic Space of the early 80’s. Built to "miniland scale" like the models in Miniland in the Legoland theme parks.

Miniland Classic SpacemanBuilt for the LEGO Creativity Challenge #6. I just wish LEGO had produced the 1×2 brick with classic space logo in red! I thought about building a white one, but my white classic space bricks are too faded — although I think they were pretty pale when I first got them almost 30 years ago. Plus, I don’t have all the parts in white I’d need…

Still, I’m hoping that even in blue, it’ll still tug the heartstrings enough to help win the contest!

Click the picture for the Flickr gallery, or view a slideshow.

Another 2006 Garden Gnome by another Bill posted by another Ward

In Ted Ward’s pictures from Northwest BrickCon 2006 I came across a picture a while ago of a garden gnome, created by Bill Volbrecht, former LEGO Master Builder.

Bill Volbrecht's Garden Gnome

As far as I know, Ted Ward is no relation to me, and neither is Bill Volbrecht.

As to why this is interesting, I built my own garden gnome in 2006 as well – while I was in Fairfax VA for the Brickfest convention (it wasn’t at the convention; I built it from parts I bought there, in my hotel room afterward). I posted it here shortly after I built it in September 2006. Here’s mine for comparison:

Bill Ward's Garden Gnome.

As for comparing the two, well I think that he did a better job on the mouth and eyes, but then I was limiting myself (as I’ve done for almost all of my sculptures) to only basic bricks, not plates or slopes or round parts. However if I may be so bold, I like my hat better: it is asymmetrical. I also think the details on the belt are better on mine. But the clincher is that his is functional: I believe that the hands are designed to hold business cards. Mine are hidden behind his back because hands are too hard to model :)