There is the pixilated Mona Lisa. The six-foot-plus Venus de Milo facsimile. There is The Great Wave off Kanagawa and The Starry Night. One of those ancient heads from Easter Island and an 80,000-piece dinosaur. All constructed with Legos.
Nathan Sawaya's The Art of the Brick exhibition, currently housed at Quincy Market in Faneuil Hall, includes more than 100 pieces of art made from millions of Legos.
His work began as a nighttime creative reprieve from his days working as a corporate lawyer. He started to receive commissions to create Lego art. Ultimately, Sawaya, now 41, left the corporate law world a decade ago to become an full-time artist, after his personal web site chronicling his Lego art work crashed from too many hits. He has since allowed his law license to expire and his exhibitions have since been shown around the world. His job now, he says, is to inspire.
"The worst day as an artist is still better than the best day as a lawyer," he says.
Sawaya doesn't deny his art has a built-in accessibility. Most people, he says, have at one time or another played with Legos.
"It appeals to a broad range. We're all familiar with it. When people go see a marble statue, they appreciate it, but they don't go home and start chipping away at marble. You can really connect to this art. It's universal."
Yes, he says, he has faced criticism as a novelty act in the art world.
"I leave that to the art critics. I enjoy what I do," he says. "I had galleries slamming doors in my face. It took a while for people to understand this isn't just little cars and trucks. Fortunately now, galleries are seeking me out. It's come full circle."