Nathan Sawaya: The Art of the Brick

The exhibition sign.
There were so many people attempting to take
pictures by it I was forced to snap on with people
otherwise I would have never gotten a picture!
My friend got a free ticket from work to see Nathan Sawaya's exhibition "The Art of the Brick". I decided I would tag along with her because the ticket price was reasonable at 250NT ($8.33). We went on the second-to-last day of the exhibition s there was a high turned out which made the exhibit difficult to enjoy at times, but the sculptures were amazing.  I mean, who wouldn't enjoy art made from Legos?!

This hand is one of Sawaya's many magnificent
Lego creations!
Before discussing Nathan Sawaya and his exhibition, I'd like to discuss Songshan Cultural and Creative Park in Xinyi (信義) district where it was held.

 The park sign.
Songshan Cultural and Creative Park is a combination between a park, museum, and small convention center.  The park section has a "nature walk" theme going on with a large artificial lake with many cute, chubby geese! There's also a boardwalk and several benches to sit on. It seems to be a great spot of a weekend family outing.  There were tons of families with little kids around.

Although it was a great day, the heavy construction taking place in part of the park ruined the view a little.

The main museum building under construction,
perhaps a renovation
The geese by the lake. 
One of the main walkways.
Now that you've seen the venue, I'll tell you a bit about Nathan Sawaya before getting to the exhibition. Sawaya is a 39-year-old American lawyer who has practiced for many years, but was always interested in art which sparked his urge to create Lego sculptures. You can learn more about him and his process on his website.

Me by the exhibition poster.
My ticket and the free fan everyone got.

Nathan Sawaya is critically acclaimed, so I think that was a driving force behind the crowds which came out to see the exhibit. The line moved fast though, and in no time I had my ticket and we were in! However, I think we got in quickly because we arrived at the "right" time. By the time we left, the lines were three times as long as they were when we entered, and the visitors were being staggered.

The lines when we were leaving, so long!
Anyway, back to the exhibition!

Sawaya's motto.
An explanation of his thought process.
From the moment I stepped in the hall, I knew I'd enjoy Sawaya's work, not only because his sculptures are made from Legos, but because I like his approach and thought process. Usually, in my opinion, modern art is comprised of rubbishy-looking sculptures or paintings, and the artists try to infuse "meaning" into things such as a coke bottle on a table. Sawaya's work isn't annoyingly abstruse - it's modern art with a deep, relatable message. He uses a unique medium, but his pieces all "say" something and are often representative of relatable feelings. He also uses some of this work to motivate kids to pursue the fields of art, science, or technology which is aspiring.

Below are some of his works found at the exhibition.

For all his exhibitions, Sawaya makes a special
piece which reflects the location of the show.
Naturally, the one for Taipei was Taipei 101.
One of his more well-known pieces, it seems.
A semi-faceless self-portrait!
The effects on this one were neat.
Sawaya believes that occasionally everyone,
including adults, crave a place to hide.
A sad one piece.
A awesome face series. The blue one is a self-portrait, and
the red one is of one of Sawaya's friends.
The T-Rex, another popular piece!
I loved this one!  Do you see the optical allusion?
Left: Lego cello
Right: Real cello
The solar system!
This one was cute, a tiger and giraffe mix!
A chess pawn and chess queen,
all built in a single day! 
These were done using those flat Lego pieces to create a 3-D effect.
Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan, and Janis Joplin!
The Woman and Girl were used in a movie set.
A giant pencil!
A computer!
More "3D" flat Lego piece art.
A flat Lego-piece self-portrait
(but I don't think Sawaya does himself justice!)
The lighting wasn't good for many of the sculptures,
but I liked the shadow effect created for this one. 
Ahh, he's gonna fall! 
This one was awesome and larger than the picture makes it seem.
I enjoyed Sawaya's work, especially his personal pieces. I thought it was unfortunate that many of the attendees were more interested in taking pictures of his art than reading the stories behind them. Oh well.

If you ever get a chance to see Sawaya's exhibitions, go and check out his work. I promise you won't be disappointed!


  1. The last piece (the ladder) is my favorite! That expo was really refreshing, Nathan Sawaya's apparent simplicity and naivety is no short of a breath of fresh air.
    Awesome review! I wish we had had time to go earlier during a less busy day. We'd have had time to ponder and meditate in front of each sculpture and have a few of those deep conversations we like ^^

    1. Thanks!

      Yeah, that one was awesome! I really wished there were a lot less people like you said. There were a few that I wanted to look at for way longer than I had a chance to. Maybe we can see another exhibition together in the future! :D