Nathan Sawaya is not new news, in fact he’s been creating his art since he was very young. Only in recent years has his work grown to be familiar to the public through his touring exhibition, “The Art of the Brick”. Sawaya is known for his life-size, and larger-than-life, LEGO sculptures that depict a range of subjects including three-dimensional art reproductions (Munch’s The Scream, Wood’s American Gothic, Klimt’s The Kiss, to name a few), famous landmarks, and what he is widely known for, human sculptures that are reflections of himself.
The images of the sculptures themselves will evoke plenty of discussion with your students, including that ever-persistent conversation of “I could do that.” Having seen the exhibition myself, I was truly impressed with the architecture, design, and vision that is required for these figures to seem so organic, when they are made with a material that is so geometric. (I stood in front of the art reproductions much longer than necessary!) The artists that may fit into our students’ “I could do that” mentality are usually pioneers, the first in their fields or artistic styles. This sort of conversation is perfect for exploring beyond what we “see”, truly delving into Sawaya’s thinking, skill, talent, and vision that would be required to create such sculptures. If your students are saying, “I could do that!?” why not capitalize on that thought and encourage them to create their own sculpture with LEGOs, or branch out and find another unique material to create with? Learning, creating, AND playing!
My fourth grade students draw colored pencil self-portraits based on LEGO minifigures. I emphasized facial expression and staying true to the minifigure form while including features and details that make each self-portrait a unique reflection of its creator.
LEGO appeals to all ages. The nostalgia and unique creative experience LEGO offers resonates within all of us. Here are some links to get you even more excited about Nathan Sawaya:
- Video Interview with Nathan Sawaya (Awesome art message)
- The Art of The Brick (Nathan Sawaya’s site)
- 12 Works of Art by the Michelangelo of LEGO
- LEGO Cello
What LEGO themed projects do you/could you facilitate?
Do you have great LEGO resources you use?
Is there a modern artist with a unique medium that is a huge hit with your students?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.