Lego Art

Click here for a link to the image.

Legos were one of my favorite toys when I was growing up. My family knew I liked Legos so they would get me the star wars Legos and stuff like that for Christmas or my birthday. I never made what the direction told me to, I just liked to be creative and make my own inventions. I had a fairly large collection of Legos. I made things like cars and spaceships but I’ve never thought someone would use Legos as a way to express themselves through art. To me Legos were nothing more than just a toy. That’s why this piece caught my interest as soon as I saw it. It also made me realize that art can be made from anything.

This piece is rather simple but I think there is a complex meaning behind it. The first thing I noticed in this sculpture was the red man, which really stuck out because of the complimentary colors. I think he is red to represent anger. Maybe he’s mad because he has some sort of problems with family or school. Whatever the reason is, he might want to act up because of his anger and maybe take it out on someone or something else. The green walls with the arms and hands coming out of it represent his conscious. His conscious knows that he is a good guy and shouldn’t act up on his emotions. So, it’s holding the man back from letting out his anger. It’s green because green is a cool and more relax color. No other color would work for the arms because nothing can calm down an angry man more than relaxing. There isn’t anything that I didn’t like about this piece. I really like the colors because I think that is what explained the whole sculpture. If he just made the whole thing with gray Lego blocks, I wouldn’t be able to find the meaning. I also liked how it seems that the arms are appearing from nowhere. I think he did that so people can interpret who is holding him by themselves.

The artist who made this Lego sculpture is Nathan Sawaya. After seeing this piece, I looked through all his other art. I noticed that everything he did is made out of Legos. I found it amazing how one artist can be so successful only using toy Legos.

  • What other meanings can this piece have?
  • Could he use other colors to explain the piece?
  • How many Legos did that take?

Don Mabutas


20 thoughts on “Lego Art

  1. I LOVE this piece. Unfortunately, instead of having answers, I just have more questions! Do you guys think these pieces are permanent or do you think the artist takes them apart when the exhibition is complete? How does it feel to see something that most of us played with as children turned into art–does it make it more interesting? Less valuable? How long do you think it would take a novice to build something like this? Super interesting post Don–thanks!

  2. I’ve seen some of this Lego art before and I’ve always had so many questions. How long that took the artist to design, get all the pieces, and then actually build? How do they figure out how many and which pieces they’ll need to build it? Are they as easy to destroy and take apart as when we would play with them when we were little? Or do they have to glue the pieces together to make sure if people to try to play with or climb on them that it doesn’t brake? So many questions, not enough answers!
    But to give my take on your second question, I think the colors he used to build his piece were completely intentional and have meaning, but whether or not the artist shares that meaning would be up to the artist. This was a cool post, nice work!

  3. I love and loathe this piece at the same time!

    I love that it is Legos: simple, colorful, creative. With the right amount of Lego pieces, I now know I could do this too. What I loathe, and it is certainly more personal, is my own inner struggle. What is holding me back? For me, this piece is a bit of a nightmare – man (me?) trying but unable to get away, to move forward. The Lego man is red, the color suggesting that he is assertive, and denoting physical power and strength. Yet those gray arms grasping him from beyond and holding him back are perhaps his own insecurities and fears. This is the eternal conflict: man vs. himself.

    That is what I like, the challenge to push oneself further and beyond comfort.

  4. I’ve never seen this before, it’s interesting! The arms are definitely holding him back from something he seems he is set on doing since his body is in the moving position. A lot of things seem to be holding him back but does he have the strength to break free. The color red may also represent strength, power, or determination to do what he wants to do with his life. The green may represent safety and relaxation but he might be wanting a change. Sometimes you have to step out of your comfort zone. Just my thought.

  5. I agree with Jessica in that the figure is being held back. Mostly because both arms seem to be restrained along with one shoulder. The left arms looks as if it is trying to break away from being restrained. I can’t really tell what the facial expression is but I choose to believe that it is anguish. Maybe the figure just witnessed a tragic event. Before taking this class I had not considered the choice of colors used in a piece of art as anything more than aesthetic. The green gives the feeling of calm to all of the arms; therefore, the voice of reason. The other thing that stands out is the rectangle that the arms appear from. Maybe it represents a door or a threshold that the figure has passed beyond or, a rash decision in a moment of stress.

    I grew up with Lego blocks and many of the expert builder sets that came out in the eighties. I have visited the Lego Land at Mall of America once and I almost didn’t make it out of the store as I was riveted to just about everything.

  6. I’ve always thought it was pretty cool how Legos could be used to create such beautiful artwork. When I initially saw the piece, I thought the man was trying to escape from the hands. As if certain things in his life were holding him back from his true potential. After analyzing the colors being used, you guys might be right. The red might represent the fact he a person with a bad temper. The green hands attempt to hold him back and try to keep him calm.

    Anyway, very interesting post Don!

  7. This blog reminds me of many hours spent building things with Legos—I’m sure that’s true for most of us. I’ve seen life-size people and other creations made from Legos in malls and remember wondering who made them and how long it took. I never really thought of any of them as sculptures, but the picture you posted Don appears to have a deeper meaning then just portraying something lifelike, good job with the interpretation.

    Has anyone been to the Legoland park near San Diego?

  8. legos to me was just another building block to creativity i mean gosh even on the Sim’s game the toys of legos build creativity. im astound that someone can actually create something this type of masterpiece, i believe it might have taken up to trillion legos to create something like this however my question is do you know the height ?

  9. I love this piece, but I took a different perspective on it. Red means anger, but it also represents a lot of emotions, passion, and originality. In this sculpture I see the man as trying to break free of the mold. The green perhaps represents a lack of originality. However, I prefer the anger interpretation, because then the green is holding the man back from doing something rash.

  10. Another interpretation would be that the arms are the arms of souls pulling the the man in red to death. He struggles to get away but can’t because more arms reach for him making it impossible to get free. You can see the layers of legos were carefully placed to even sculpt out muscle tone showing his struggle.

  11. What an interesting piece. The fact that something that we all played with as kids can be turned into a pop art masterpiece shows real creativity and vision. I like this piece better because I can appreciate how much work went into building it. When I first saw the piece, I was struck by the bold primary colors red and green that are opposite on the color wheel. The red pops out against the green background to make the effect appear even more 3D than it already is (especially if you are viewing a 2D picture of the piece instead of seeing it in person). After reading everyone’s posts, I agree that the color red must have some emotional significance for the artist.

  12. For me, Legos are my childhood wrapped up in one block. I have loved playing with legos and letting my creativity flow ever since I was a youngin’. Like John I have been to Lego Land except i went to Lego Land San Diego where they have the world tallest building made of legos. I have always been amazed at the time and effort put in to these works of art. Also the fact that most of these pieces are done without instructions or manuals. The creativity is endless with Legos and will always be an American icon in the toy department.

  13. I think this is really cool. I like the fact that they used legos because is unique and when I was younger I used to play with them. It must have taken a long time to create and a lot of pieces of lego. I agree with what you have to say about the colors and that the green is holding back the anger or the red from coming out.

  14. I used to love legos when I was a kid too. They were the danks. i like the meaning you attached to it. I wouldn’t have thought of it like that. I wonder did the artist give a description for it? also how much time does it take to construct something like this? Its incredible work. I’d also like to know how the artist got it to balance and if the put glue or anything on it to make it stronger, or is it susceptible to breaking.

  15. Legos is an awesome form of art. I really enjoyed this piece, I’ve always wondered how they created these pieces. Do they have to map it out first before they do it or do they just start building until they finish?

  16. If you have ever walked into a huge Lego store at Woodfield mall or any other, they also have a few lego sculptures of sorts. I always had fun walking into one of those stores and see what they built on their own with their legos and took pictures. From what I’ve seen with my friends building the Star Wars kit with legos, if you mix the pieces, it will take a while. In my opinion his piece could have taken him a month or even more since there are no directions to making his piece other than his judgement. Depending on the size he could have used boxes of the same color legos, or just two if it was a small scale. I think the patience to build an art sculpture like that is something to appreciate in its own way.

  17. Wow, these blogs always have something that makes me realize how art is everywhere. I never thought legos could be something more than toys. The first thing that came to my mind was that the man in red is a criminal and the green hands are the rules and regulations or the laws holding him back from committing crimes. Red to me is alarming, it represents danger and green is a friendly, calming peaceful color. I think of green as a calming peaceful color because whenever I think of green a beautiful green valley comes to my mind.

  18. This type of art does not look easy at all. Lego art seems time consuming as I would guess being that when I used to play around with legos I would spend hours building houses and perfecting them. I completely agree with the meaning that you took out of this type of art. The position of his body also seems like he holding anger in some sort. I can only begin to imagine how many legos it took to just make this piece.

  19. This piece is very interesting but a bit creepy to me at the same time only because the body and arms look so real! I agree that he is red because he’s angry and looks as if he is about to act on it but something is holding him back, his conscience maybe? And I think they’re green because it’s the exact opposite on the color wheel so it is
    his patient side vs his anger inside.

  20. I believe that this is the first blog that I have the most connection with so far. I was a huge fan of legos growing up as a kid and I still am. The topic that I’m most curious about with this piece is how long did it take to create it? This type of art work seems like it would take a great deal of time to complete, especially creating something in life form. Is this piece of art completely made of legos? Is there a molded body figure within the legos? Are the legos glued together? I have once been to the lego store in the Water Tower Mall downtown in Chicago and they have a lego store. Inside of the store you can find all sorts life form figures and pieces of art made out of legos. The lego art there is glued together so u cannot take pieces off. I wonder is it created by the same artist?

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