The Art of the Brick

Traveling Lego Exhibit - Currently in San Diego

October 26, 2016

My boys love Legos.  We’ve spent a fortune on them.  We’ve played with them.  I’ve stepped on them (ouch!).  The dog has eaten them.  And on occasion, I’ve vacuumed them (ahem) on purpose.  In so many ways, these little plastic bricks feel like the story of our life with boys.  Complete fun and adoration and complete misery. Just keeping it real, folks.

When The Art of the Brick, a special traveling exhibit by artist Nathan Sawaya, came to San Diego, our home town, I knew we had to go.  My now 10 and 13 year old still have a fascination with Legos.  These days, they have to buy their own plastic gold (or wait for a relative to do it on a birthday or Christmas).  They have mostly outgrown the desire for the newest series and instead have taken a great interest in collecting some of the old and out-of-production pieces.  Second-hand sellers, specialty stores and ebay have become their favorite spots to shop.  And now they spend more time coming up with their own creations instead of following the directions from actual sets (Joseph wanted to make sure I mentioned that).
Visiting The Art of the Brick exhibit was an awe-inspiring wonder and well-worth our time this past weekend.  The exhibit begins with a short video about Nathan Sawaya.  Basically, he’s an adult with a talent for creating.  He grew up building with Legos and it was something he was really passionate about.  As a young man, he left home for college and guess what!  He took his Legos with him.  He just couldn't be without them.  He graduated from college, went on to law school and even started practicing law in New York City.  But he never lost his love for building and creating with Legos.  And before long, he decided his passion in life would be to make a career out of it.  Today he is a renowned artist with an unusual medium.  He has received a number of awards for his thoughtful and playful creations. 
When the film ended, we were led into the first gallery with an amazing collection of familiar art, all made out of Legos.  It was so fun to see the Mona Lisa, Starry Night, The Girl with the Pearl Earring and many more.
The next gallery was a collection of antiquities.  Think Greek vases, an Egyptian Sphinx, Roman statues, an Easter Island statue and more.
Then it just got fun and whimsical.  There were creations that made you stop and think.  Creations that made you more curious.  And creations that made you giggle or scratch your head. 
Nathan Sawaya also collaborates with other artists for special exhibits.   He paired up with photographer Dean West in which he created special Lego props that were then placed on location to become part of the photograph.  Those same Lego props were on display along with their photographs at the exhibit.  My boys and I enjoyed playing “I Spy” with each piece of art.
Legos have been a part of our lives for a number of years and they aren’t going away any time soon.  An exhibit like The Art of the Brick allows us to appreciate and celebrate something we are so infinitely familiar with, yet be inspired by something truly remarkable that only a very talented artist could pull off.  We were thrilled to spend a few hours enjoying this and highly recommend it to others.

San Diego Exhibit Details
The Art of the Brick is now on display at the Fleet Science Center in San Diego until January 29, 2017.  Tickets to The Art of the Brick include a visit to the interactive exhibit galleries and an IMAX film.  Adults are $29.95, juniors are $24.95, seniors are $27.95 and Fleet Science Center Members are just $10.  

For information on past, current and future exhibit locations, click here.



I asked my boys to share their favorite Lego building books.  They have quite a few, but here's what they said:


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