Impressive and imaginative LEGO art exhibit worth the ride to Boston

Impressive and imaginative LEGO art exhibit worth the ride to Boston
"Gray," a LEGO sculpture by Nathan Sawaya, on display at The Art of Brick in Boston. PHOTO BY REECE SAUNDERS
Liz Gotthelf, Publisher

BOSTON — Artist Nathan Sawaya has combined art and play.

Sawaya, who lives and works between studios in New York and Los Angeles, is a LEGO artist. He uses LEGOS to sculpt art.

The Art of the Brick Exhibition, featuring his work, is currently on tour in Boston at 343 Newbury St. through April 23. And if you’re a fan of LEGOS or art, or both, it’s definitely worth the two hour Downeaster trip to Boston.

“This exhibition engages the child in all of us while at the same time highlighting sophisticated and complex concepts. I use LEGO in my art because the toy is accessible. Chances are, you probably don’t have a slab of marble or a ceramic kiln at home. But I bet you have some LEGO bricks," said Sawaya in a statement posted at the exhibit.


The Art of Brick exhibit is spread over three floors. After a brief video about Sawaya, we were led into the first room, where I immediately spotted a LEGO version of “Mona Lisa,” Leonardo de Vinci’s famous painting. Composed of more than 1500 LEGOS, the reproduction portrays the mysterious nature of the woman in the original artwork in a slightly pixelated-looking form.

Nathan Sawaya's recreations of famous works of art, on display at The Art of the Brick. PHOTOS BY REECE SAUNDERS

Nearly 3500 LEGOS were used to complete a reproduction of  Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night,” the blocks arranged to successfully captures the vibrancy of the original piece depicting the moon, bright stars and swirls of light in a dark sky.

Also of note was the recreation of “American Gothic,” the iconic painting by Grant Wood that depicts a grim-faced farm couple. Using 8300 LEGOS, Sawaya creates a three dimensional version of the couple that adds another layer to their sternness, and makes you almost forget that the piece was created with toy plastic bricks.

The exhibit continued on the first floor to some of Sawaya’s original works. Many were initially playful, but had a deeper meaning behind them.

“Writer” depicts a man and a giant pencil.

“Let your big ideas flow. When you let your creativity loose, be it in writing, art, music, or whatever, your ideas take on a life of their own. So take those big ideas and let them free,” states Sawaya in commentary about the piece.

LEGO sculptures on display at The Art of the Brick. PHOTO BY REECE SAUNDERS

“Crayons,” uses nearly 4500 LEGOS to create a line of crayons.

“Outside the lines. Inside the lines. Doesn’t matter. What matters is creating the world the way you want to see it,” stated Sawaya.

Sawyer’s originals continued onto the second floor with larger pieces, including a 20 foot dinosaur comprised of 80,000 LEGOS.

LEGO sculpture by Nathan Sawaya. PHOTO BY REECE SAUNDERS

“Everlasting,” using nearly 10,600 red bricks to create a man and woman, holding hands, their bodies, sagging and drooping in places, showing tell-tale signs of age.

“Love lives forever. It outlives youth, a flat stomach, and a full head of hair. That’s what makes it beautiful,” stated Sawaya.

Some pieces were deeply personal, a reflection of Sawyer’s journey from being a lawyer to embracing his creative side and becoming an artist, such as Gray, a sculpture of a man breaking out of a box. 

“Trapped,” a 3,400 brick sculpture depicting a person trapped in a box, was inspired by Sawaya’s feelings of being trapped.

“There’s always a way out. We just sometimes need a little help to find the way,” he stated.

LEGO sculptures on display at The Art of the Brick. PHOTO BY REECE SAUNDERS

The third floor of the exhibit was interactive. For those who wanted to get their hands on some LEGOS after seeing all the artwork, there were LEGO play areas. And for those who wanted the perfect Instagram shot, there were photo stations with LEGO backdrops.

Publisher Liz Gotthelf can be reached at [email protected].