A Life Plan Snaps Into Place

New York artist Nathan Sawaya is an idyllic example of following one’s bliss. Four years ago he had LEGO on the brain, so he did what anyone else would: Quit his law career to earn a living snapping plastic bricks together. But don’t muddle mental images of your kiddie construction gigs with Sawaya’s grown-up art; his full-scale sculptures can take months to build, and require thousands of LEGO pieces during assembly. The end results leave you speechless.

Take, for example his 70” x 30” x 10” rendering of Han Solo frozen in carbonite. From a distance it looks just like the film’s famous prop: Han’s features poke through the surface, as he waits patiently for Princess Leia to come and save him. Sawaya even fine tuned the minor details like the control panel (insert geeky glasses readjustment and snort here). But as you move closer to examine its facade you realize it’s covered with loads of tiny plastic bumps and ridges. 10,000 of them, in fact. Understandably many of Sawaya’s pieces are privately commissioned by individuals (Ashlee Simpson got one as a wedding gift), businesses, or any other group with extra tens of thousands of dollars allotted to their LEGO fund. Luckily for the common man, Sawaya’s not all about the (plastic) bling. He recently put together an exhibit of more than 30 masterpieces called “The Art of the Brick,”and it’s been keeping museums packed across the country. Tonight it opens at the Hollywood Art and Culture Center (1650 Harrison St., Hollywood). Resist the urge to shatter the life-sized works this evening from 6 to 9 p.m. while sipping on refreshments and chatting with the artist. Or, if you own children, bring them by tomorrow for the kids’ opening party from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tickets range $5 to $10 for both events but will be $4 to $7 on any other day of the exhibit, which runs daily through August 10th.
June 6-Aug. 10, 2008

 
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