Nathan Sawaya’s artwork with LEGOs may be more famous than his name for now, but with the publication of The Art of Nathan Sawaya, that may soon change. Since he left his “straight” job as an attorney (of all things) in 2004 to devote himself fulltime to his art, Sawaya’s work has been shown all over the world. He has created some of the most memorable LEGO art I have ever seen, which includes such pieces as a seven-foot long replica of the Brooklyn Bridge, a life-size (!) tyrannosaurus rex, and a very cool six-foot tall replica of Han Solo frozen in carbonite (from The Empire Strikes Back movie).
Surprisingly enough, though, none of these famous works appear in the book. The 38-page Art of Nathan Sawaya is mostly concerned with the human form, and the sculptures are fascinating. He presents people in a variety of positions–standing, sitting, holding up the Earth, and many more. My favorite “people” page is the one with skulls, however. There are four of them, made out of blue, red, green, and yellow LEGOs, and they are presented on the page with a black background. It is a striking use of those iconic bricks.
As for non-human sculptures, Sawaya chose well. Another favorite piece of mine is the multi-colored LEGO peace-sign. I also enjoyed his chess pieces, of which a queen and a pawn are included here.
The final two pages feature various photos of “Hugman.” There is very little text in the book, besides the forward written by Scott Jones; Sawaya writes two small pieces which open and close the book. In the first he mentions his interest in making his figures appear to be in transition, which is borne out in many of the sculptures.
In closing, Sawaya explains Hugman:
“Hugman likes to give hugs. He hugs sign poles. He hugs park benches. He hugs bike racks. He hugs fence posts. He hugs almost anything he can fit his arms around. Hugmen can be found from New York City to Australia and other places in between. They are my variation of street art–LEGO graffiti if you will. They show up where I am and tend to stay for a day or two before they walk off. Kind of like me.”
The Art of Nathan Sawaya is a very cool book, and one any lover of LEGO art should not miss.