DORAVILLE, Ga. — A new art show opened in Atlanta this week, but it’s unlike any other that has visited the Peach State in recent times. It’s called Art of the Brick and the show features the LEGO creations of artist Nathan Sawaya. It’s at the Exhibition Hub Atlanta Art Center.
(Editor’s note-the show is in Atlanta until Sept. 1.)
“It was Christmas morning. I was five years old. (I) got this big box from my grandmother, shook it, it sounded weird, opened it up, LEGO bricks. So, I’ve been building with LEGO bricks since I was five,” Sawaya told WSBTV.com’s Nelson Hicks.
But before he became a full-time artist and created a LEGO art show, Sawaya was an attorney in New York City. He needed a creative outlet when he got home from work each day. He found that in sculpting with LEGOs.
“There was a point where I was still practicing law, but still taking on art commissions in the evening. So I was doing a full day of lawyer work and then six hours of LEGO work in the evening. Eventually, I decided, alright there’s something to this. I left the law firm behind and became a full-time artist,” Sawaya said.
At first, Sawaya sculpted items he would find around his New York City apartment, things like an apple and a baseball, but eventually decided to try and put emotion into his creations. That’s when interest in his items took off.
Sawaya opened his first art show in 2007. Sixteen years later, there are five different exhibitions with the one in Atlanta being an all-new experience. More than 10 million people have visited one of his shows.
The event is billed as an immersive experience. It’s much more than just LEGO sculptures.
“Not only are you seeing the LEGO art, but you’re also seeing sound and music and lighting, something on every wall, even the floor, to really shake up what you’re experiencing.”
There’s a piece called Kinetic Skulls that features dozens of moving skulls with light, music and mirrors. There’s another room that features three massive LEGO creations along with music and animations that appear on the walls and floor.
“I’ve put together working with this team that did the great work on the Van Gogh: The Immersive Experience immersive show, we worked together to make an immersive experience where you can be, hopefully meditative and watch as LEGO comes to life all around you.”
Another gallery focuses on endangered species made from LEGOs and includes photos of the creations in their natural habitats.
Sawaya estimates he has 10 million bricks in his studio and buys 250,000 a month. Sawaya creates everything himself.
Art of the Brick is in Atlanta through at least the end of June. Tickets start at $34 for adults and $21 for children.
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