What a great sounding job, but what does it entail?
As an independent LEGO artist I do two kinds of projects. Firstly – and where it all began for me – I create exhibition and display models. These are typically one-offs, and range from a few hundred pieces to hundreds of thousands. They can sometimes take many months to complete.
Secondly, I design custom LEGO kits. These are typically smaller, and usually supplied in larger batches, perhaps as a corporate gift.
We don't stop playing because
we grow old; we grow old
because we stop playing.
George Bernard Shaw
But why LEGO? From around 2000 to 2014 I was a freelance architectural photographer. I worked for architects and developers all over the UK capturing the build environment. I had a strong bias towards the North East of England, where I’m based. In 2012 I rediscovered LEGO, and it seemed a natural choice to try to represent the stunning architecture around me in LEGO! I had no idea that I had stumbled on a niche that had so much potential. Within a few years LEGO went from being a quirky side-line, supplementing my work as a photographer, to my full-time career!
More than that it provided something I needed. As many people appreciate, there is a nostalgia aspect to building with LEGO. It rekindles the optimism of youth, perhaps. Anything is possible. Certainly for me it serves a need – that of disconnecting from the world for a while. I become absorbed when building in a way I never otherwise do. Its Mindful. It’s therapeutic. It requires a mix of creativity, problem-solving, planning and patience.
I love what I do, and I hope that is evident from the builds I’ve created.
My first build since rediscovering LEGO in 2012 was of my house. I created a very detailed and accurate version, which saw me measuring rooms for scale! The following year I created something a little better known – the BALTIC in Gateshead. From there the history of Brick This truly began. The BALTIC appeared in the gallery itself and at an exhibition at Woodhorn Colliery in 2015. I started a website. I saw it as a natural extension of my photography. My interest in photography had always been niche – the subject matter of architecture, rather than cameras and photography in general. In fact, I often said that if I ever expanded what I did, it wouldn’t be some other genre of photography (weddings, events), but another way of being involved with architecture and places. My photography clients were architects and developers. Many had a great interest in my rather quirky side-line. The odd LEGO project would fit in ideally with my photography career, I figured.
The Maggie’s Centre at the Freeman Hospital was my first commission, in 2015, followed by Tynemouth Outdoor Pool. Both massive learning curves. Then the Centre for Life in Newcastle booked me in 2016 for an exhibition in early 2017. North East LEGO Landmarks ran for 3 months, and by then I’d completed commissions for Newcastle United Football Club, Team Valley Trading Estate and the Centre for Life themselves. Add in a couple more ‘hobby builds’ of the Civic Centre and the Angel of the North, and I had a decent collection of Northern landmarks!
Since then I have worked for clients all over the world, and my business has grown in ways I never imagined. Please have a good look around the website, and get in touch if you have anything you’d like to discuss!
If you’re interested in discussing a project, give me a call or drop me a line and we can chat through the details of your build.