LEGO®s are tiny little bricks meant to be fused and stacked to create figures built from imagination. We all have fond memories of them, except those of us who have had the misfortune of stepping on one barefoot in the middle of the night. Foot pain aside, no one is as gifted at creating a dazzling display of LEGO®s better than artist Nathan Sawaya who has created a world of enchantment called THE ART OF THE BRICK, a free exhibition in Downtown Tampa courtesy of the Vinik Family Foundation.
THE ART OF THE BRICK has visited more than 80 cities worldwide and has been exhibited on every continent with the exception of Antarctica.
Previously a NYC corporate lawyer, the artist, Sawaya is the first ever to take the LEGO® toy into the art world as a medium; his first pieces created as early as 2002. Sawaya spends over six figures on bricks annually and has over six million bricks in his Los Angeles studio. A life-size human form sculpture typically takes 2-4 weeks depending on complexity and can take up to15,000-25,000 bricks.
Penny Vinik told me she didn't even have to see the display anywhere else in person but was so impressed with photos online, the fact it was available this summer made the decision easy to bring it to Tampa.
This is not the first time the Viniks have brought a world of wonder and art to our city. Last year, they brought another installation called The Beach to Amalie Arena. I remember thinking how incredible these visionary community leaders were, willing to bring a free exhibition to our community - and now they've done it again. It was an honor to thank both Mr. and Mrs. Vinik in person at the opening of this exhibition on June 23rd.
The best way to appreciate it is to make it accessible. On my recent trip to London, I was sad to learn that in most museums I was unable to take any photos.
But this display is different, the artist encourages photos to share the displays. "Art can be anything," says Nathan Sawaya. I even bought a tee in the souvenir shop that has these words on it. Reading Sawaya's words that accompany each piece and seeing these thousands of tiny bricks forming famous and original works of art which he has brought to life reminds me that art truly can be anything. The exhibition will be on display for free until September 4th at the District 3 Arts and Events Venue.
I highly recommend you visit this magnificent exhibition which masterfully showcases Sawaya's life, imagination, and heart. (All photos used by permission of the author.)